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During last year's soccer showcase at Jack Allen Recreation Complex, Auburn-Montgomery players Emily Churchill (10) and Karen Jacobsdottir (11) defend an indirect free kick against Mississippi State.
Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
During last year's soccer showcase at Jack Allen Recreation Complex, Auburn-Montgomery players Emily Churchill (10) and Karen Jacobsdottir (11) defend an indirect free kick against Mississippi State.

Soccer showcase gets its kicks in Decatur again

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

If you thought last year's soccer showcase at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Southwest Decatur was a one-time thing, think again.

Scott Spencer said so.

For the second year in a row, Decatur will host a regional soccer showcase, pitting Olympic Development Program teams against each other. Also, several college teams will play exhibition matches, including the women's teams from Memphis, Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State.

"Now we're building up a little bit of a tradition with this event," said Spencer, the event coordinator and director of coaching for the Alabama Youth Soccer Organization. "The ODP players are used to it. It's a great event."

At least 30 ODP and club teams will participate this year, as will about 10 men's and women's college teams, making this year's event at least as large as the first one. Games are scheduled for all day Saturday and Sunday.

And, yes, if you're wondering, the way the facility held up a year ago played a large role in Decatur getting the showcase again instead of it going back to Huntsville where it was for two years before 2006.

"As always, the facilities are immaculate," Spencer said. "And the people who work there, parks and recreation, are great. Now it's on the schedule. The colleges are happy. We plan on doing it every year."

Now that the event is in year two, Kelly Varnell, recreation coordinator with Decatur Parks and Recreation, said hosting the event will be a lot easier. However, a lot of that has to do with the Jack being finished.

"It's much easier," Varnell said. "The facility is already equipped and ready for events. Last year we didn't even have most of our sidewalks in and the building wasn't even turned over to us yet."

Headlining this year's event will be a matchup between Oklahoma State's women and Vanderbilt. That match is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. on Stadium Field 1.

Also of interest will be the Lindsey Wilson College men's team, Spencer said.

"It's NAIA, but they're unbelievable," Spencer said. "That'll be a real treat.

"They've got lots of foreign players on the team. Every year they compete for, or win, a national title. They'll be spectacular."

Lindsey Wilson plays Saturday at 2 p.m. in Stadium Field 1 against West Florida and at at 6 p.m. in Stadium Field 2 against Christian Brothers.

The games are free while parking is $10 for both days.

"You've got the elite players of soccer participating from three states for the Olympic Development Program," Varnell said. "It's a good opportunity to see some good soccer."

Saturday soccer schedule

Location: All games at Jack Allen Recreation Complex.

Admission: Free, but parking is $10.

College men

Christian Brothers vs. West Florida, Stadium 1, 10 a.m.

West Florida vs. Lindsey Wilson, Stadium 1, 2 p.m.

Christian Brothers vs. Lindsey Wilson, Stadium 2, 6 p.m.

College women

Martin Methodist vs. West Florida, Stadium 2, 10 a.m.

Memphis vs. Oklahoma State, Stadium 1, noon

Samford vs. Vanderbilt, Stadium 2, noon

Auburn-Montgomery vs. Tennessee ODP 90/91, Field 3, noon

Memphis vs. West Florida, Field 3, 4 p.m.

Samford vs. Martin Methodist, Stadium 1, 5 p.m.

Auburn-Montgomery vs. Alabama 90, Field 4, 5 p.m.

Oklahoma State vs. Vanderbilt, Stadium 1, 7 p.m.

Youth

Games begin from 8:45 a.m. to approximately 8 p.m. on Field Nos. 3 through 10.

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