By J. Daniel Rollins
The sun was shining and the smell of fresh cut grass was in the air Thursday at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex. That came as a relief to YMCA of Southern W.Va. Sports and Recreation director Daniel Vass.
“We have a lot to do,” he said with a smile. “The rain hurt us a little bit. It put us a little behind schedule. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re ready for it.”
Vass and his staff are busy, working around the clock preparing the soccer fields for this weekend’s Little General Stores Darrell Moore Memorial Classic.
“We’re going to be mowing every field out here within the next two days and then repainting them,” Vass said. “We’re trying to let the sun do its job and dry these fields out a little bit. They’re a little soggy right now, but they’ll be fine. They’ll be in good shape come Saturday when we kick off.”
The YMCA is expecting 45 soccer teams from West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio in Beckley this weekend, for the 13th annual tournament, named after the longtime soccer supporter, who passed away suddenly in 1999.
“Darrell Moore was a big contributor to getting soccer going in the area, especially girls’ soccer,” Vass said. “We named the tournament after him to commemorate him and all that he’s done in the soccer world.”
The competition will be pool-based and will feature teams from U-9 through U-19.
“These are club teams, rec teams and travel teams that will come in here and play,” Vass said. “This is a really good display of a lot of talent in West Virginia, and the also the surrounding area.”
In the 13 years since Moore’s passing, his legacy lives on as the sport he loved continues to grow in southern W.Va.
“This year, in our rec program we have 150 kids signed up for our U-4 league and 130 kids signed up in our U-6 league, so we have almost 300 kids under 6 years old playing soccer,” Vass said. “It’s growing huge. It’s crazy how much it’s grown over the last few years.”
The Classic will begin Saturday morning at 8 a.m., and the final game of the day will kick off at 8 p.m. Sunday will feature a devotional from the Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors at 8:15 a.m., with the first game of the day kicking off at 9 a.m.
Vass isn’t too concerned about potential rain this weekend.
“We’ll deal with that if it happens,” he said. “Basically, we’re going to do everything we can to get these games in. The fields are in good enough shape to where they can be played on. As long as there is no lightning, we should be good to play.”
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