Fifty-five matches down and eight to go.
The Montana Indoor Soccer Championship winds up today starting at 12:30 p.m. with championship play pitting the top two seeds from eight groups.
Matches follow at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the three indoor fields at the Trade Center Building at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.
Admission is free.
“Being competitive, but having fun,” Nate Evans of the Northwest Soccer Club of Montana said of the tournament focus.
“Shaking off the cobwebs.”
Evans was coaching three teams in the tournament — the NSC Montana 2003 boys and two NSC Montana 2000 girls teams.
“We’ve only had three practices (before the three-day tournament began with 10 matches Friday night),” he said.
“So it’s good to come out here and apply what we have learned. Our goal for the weekend was to improve.”
Thirty-six teams from three states — Idaho, Montana and Washington and Canada — were in attendance. When the tournament was held for the first time last year, 20 teams were in attendance.
The Nelson B.C. Select U14 girls made the five-hour journey to the Flathead Valley along with four other teams from that city to participate.
The U14 girls lost 9-0 to the Missoula Strikers in their 8 a.m. game on Saturday, but were more competitive in a 4-3 loss to the Helena Arsenal Gold in a late afternoon test.
“To have fun and to play teams of a higher caliber,” Nelson coach Rick Short said of what he was looking for.
“Hard competition is always good. It brings your level of play up.”
Short’s team had eight players, including his daugher Skyla, and one keeper for the 5 on 5 event. Half his team consisted of players from Nelson and the other half from Cranbrook.
“When ever someone puts on an event like this, we always like to support it,” Short said.
“They (Northwest Soccer Club) approached our club to come here and play.”
Short’s team had just one practice prior to the tournament.
Nelson, a city with a population of 10,230, has an indoor league in the winter with 200 youngsters participating. Teams play inside an old wooden hockey rink on one field.
“Way faster,” he said of the indoor games on the smaller field.
“There is less room to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, the consequences are pretty quick.”
The Nelson U14 girls will wrap up their tournament today at 8 a.m. on Field 3 versus the Spokane Foxes Armstrong 05G.
The Flathead Rapids 04 boys play at 8 a.m. today on Field 3.
The Flathead VU Force 03 girls take the turf at 10 a.m. on Field 1.
Also at 10 a.m., NSC Montana Purple is on Field 2.
At 11 a.m. NSC Montana White, NSC Montana Purple and Flathead VU Force 02 girls are on Fields 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Those are also the final three matches before the championship round.