With 48 teams and hundreds of people descending onto Barrie this weekend, Spiritfest 2018 is a success to all involved.
The Barrie Soccer Club’s annual event continues to showcase the best in the game in Ontario right now and for yesterday and today the Barrie Sports Complex, Tree Nursery and the BSC fields have been alive with parents yelling and kids calling for the ball. Technical director and coach Mark Cristante had just finished coaching his squad when he told Barrie Today that he very happy with the event this year but admits he wants to see it bigger.
“We are very excited with the turnout and with the weather being so beautiful it has made it even more enjoyable,” said Cristante. “Our fields are unbelievably good and we hear that often so that is a point of pride for us. I do however hope the event gets bigger with over 100 teams, and I feel like more awareness in the city would be great This is a massive two day event and it brings in a lot of outside clubs from other cities with their family members, so a lot potential tourist money is there and we should make a push at that.”
Clubs from Kingston, Toronto, Windsor and London were just some of the many that made the trek up the 400 to hit the pitch and the lineups at local food spots along Bayfield were evident that there was a soccer tournament in town. Andrew Mielke is the head coach of the Oshawa Turul 2004 girls and praised the the tournament from a club’s perspective and the professionalism that is displayed by the BSC.
“Our season so far has us at .500 for the year so we started slow but came out strong recently and a tournament like this does a club wonders for learning how to gel,” said Mielke. “I believe we’re the only Oshawa based team here this year though there are several clubs from our division so we know a lot of other clubs and still get the experience of playing new teams as well. Also it should be noted that the fields here are all great which is hard to accomplish when you have this many to take care of.”
Mielke admits he and his club don’t see as much of Barrie as they would like to on these tournament weekends but believes coming here is great with only the hotel situation needing to be looked.
“This is our second year here and I find that sometimes we’re passing through Barrie and seeing only certain parts of the city with the majority being up this way on the north end,” said Mielke. “We had a team breakfast this morning and that was rather a busy thing for sure for the restaurant and about half of us are staying in a hotel. The hotel is great though it booked up very fast so any teams coming in next year need be aware of that.”
When parents, coaches and players walk away from a tournament and praise its success, there is usually a forgotten group of people in those compliments. The volunteers for the BSC Spiritfest would be hard to forget in their bright orange t-shirts this year and while doing a lot of running around, they too have kids to watch in the games. Angelina Develis
“There are a bunch of field marshals as well as us volunteers that are also on the committee who help organize the whole thing,” said Develis. “We help get snacks for the referees, the volunteers, we’re here from 7am to pretty much 6pm until the day is done and then we’ll do it all that way until the weekend is over.”
As busy as Develis is with not only running around the fields but also trying to help those from outside the city find a good spot to eat or go in between games, she is also a mom of two daughters, one on U15 and one on U13 and likes to cheer her children on.
“All the volunteers know when and where their kids play so they head to that field and take a breather when the game is on,” said Develis. “As hectic as it gets trying to organize the days of the tournament, it's even more stressful as a parent watching your kid and hoping they do well.”
The tournament continues today until 6pm and the BSC encourages everyone to come out and cheer on the local Barrie clubs as well as all teams.