One of my favorite youth soccer tournaments is the Rainier Challenge hosted by Washington Premier FC. I might be a little biased since I have also been involved with running this tournament starting back in 2005 up until 2 years ago. It has everything that is right about youth soccer tournaments, it is all in one location, has a great set of vendors, on sunny days Mt Rainier stands huge as a backdrop and lots of great teams participate.
One of my many roles in soccer is a referee. Normally I spend my weekend refereeing and only taking time off to watch my kids games. This year I worked 8 games on the girls weekend (I only have boys so no one playing) and I did not referee any games on the boys weekend since I also have my first team to shoot for the 2014-2015 season the Washington Premier B99 White team. Then there is my sons team (WPFC B98N) to shoot as well so there was no time to referee. It was kind of strange but a bit more fun.
First 2 games were Friday night with partly cloudy skies. The lighting was perfect for the first game with the sun behind some clouds and my sons team getting a win for the first game of the weekend. Bummer that would be the only win for the weekend.
Saturday had me shooting 4 games with mostly cloudy conditions. My sons team had 2 losses that day so they were eliminated. The B99W team ended up with 2 wins and a loss and that was enough to put them through to the Semi’s on Sunday morning.
The Semi’s for the B99W was a great game. At the end of regulation time it was tied up at 1-1 so it went into overtime. Since this is a summer tourney the OT rules vary from event to event. At Rainier Challenge they are 2×5 min halves followed by Kicks From the Mark if it is still tied. This game went to KFtM and unfortunately the B98W team lost.
When I shoot soccer games I always try to position myself so that the players are coming at me and I can see their face. Rarely does an image of the back of a player work for a good picture but as you can see from the middle picture above it sometimes can work. Another picture I like to try and capture is goal celebrations. You always see these great photos of the professional players in their goal celebrations and I want to try and capture that with the youth players. One thing I have noticed is the difference in Youth celebrations and professional celebrations. Youth players first reaction is to turn back to the center of the field and celebrate with their teammates. Pro players go to a corner and mug for the cameras. While it is much more difficult to capture the emotional moment after a goal being scored in youth games I still prefer them since they are team based rather than individual based celebrations.
Next on the Summer tourney list will be my sons team at the Clash At the Border down in Vancouver, WA. I have never been to that event so it will be interesting.