Tracy Futbol Club dialed back its annual Orange Bowl tournament this year, but organizers still had plenty to keep them busy during the two-day event.
The tournament, in its seventh year, drew 85 teams, mostly from Northern California and a few from Nevada. Tracy Futbol Club president and tournament organizer Harry Bourassa said that tournaments of past years — including one year when 228 teams played — were bigger than what the city’s two main soccer complexes, Plasencia Fields and Tracy Sports Complex on 11th Street, could handle. Organizers scheduled games at schools around town to accommodate all of the teams.
“That was out of control, so we limited the next year to 150 and reached that goal, and we thought that was too much because we still needed schools,” Bourassa said.
This year, the club rented the two complexes for a four-day weekend, but needed them just for Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re using the fields to their full capacity to get everyone in, but everybody will have Monday off,” Bourassa said.
TFC treasurer Michelle Farmer, co-organizer of the tournament for the past seven years, said that the two 11th Street complexes handled more than 150 games.
“This is the perfect amount. Every field is played on from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” she said.
Teams included 11 Tracy Futbol Club teams, two of which advanced to Sunday’s championship games.
Among them was the U15 Stealth, which played in the U16 boys gold bracket and won three games in a row, including a 3-2 win over Tracy Futbol Club Roma on Sunday to get to Sunday’s final against Winchester Ajax of San Jose. Ajax won the final game 3-0.
Stealth coach Antonio Viorato said that the team, formed less than a year ago, appreciated the chance to play in front of a home crowd against another TFC team.
“We’ve got a lot of family members here from both sides. We have a lot of respect for the parents from the other side, as well, and the coaches,” he said, adding that the contest between two teams from the same club turned out to be an intense rivalry.
“I just wish it were the final — a game like this should always be a final game,” he said.
Also making Sunday’s finals was TFC’s U10 boys Heat, which went 2-2 for the weekend, with a loss in pool play to the West Coast Soccer Wizards of Livermore and a 3-2 loss to the Wizards in the final.
The Orange Bowl is also the start of the summer tournament season. Teams have wrapped up their spring leagues and have a few months before fall leagues begin.
Joe Perry, coach of the U14 girls Blaze, which went 1-2 for the weekend, said he planned to go to four more tournaments this summer, but he first wanted to see how the team compared to others in the top-level premiere bracket.
“A lot of teams use this to see where they’re at and start planning for other tournaments,” Perry said, adding that having a tournament in Tracy built on the club’s prestige in U.S. Club Soccer.
“It’s nice to host a tournament and be proud of what we’re able to put on.”
Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.