44 state soccer teams to compete
The events are designed to raise money for crippled children.
STRUTHERS -- The largest number of high school soccer teams ever assembled in the Mahoning Valley will compete in a tournament at the end of the month to help benefit a charitable cause.
The second-annual James J. Simon Memorial Tournament will draw 20 high school girls teams and 24 prep boys teams from throughout the state to compete at the Valley Sports soccer complex in Struthers.
Proceeds will benefit the Mahoning Valley chapter of the Shriners for Crippled Children.
The girls will play July 23 and 24 and the boys will be in action on July 30 and 31.
"This is probably the second-best preseason high school soccer tournament in the state," tournament director Joe DeMay said. "The level of competition is high. There's an exciting field of teams, some real fine teams. And the money we collect will go to charity."
Each team will play four games, twice on Saturday and two more on Sunday.
There are two fullsize soccer fields at Valley Sports and a field at nearby Mickler Field also will be used. One field at Valley Sports is lighted and there will be a game under the lights.
Teams of local interest
Among the girls teams entered in the tournament are Salem, Austintown Fitch, Boardman, West Branch, Newton Falls and Warren JFK high schools. Cardinal Mooney, Howland and Niles each have two teams entered.
Three games of local note on July 23 are West Branch against Salem at 3:30 p.m.; Niles against Howland at 5 p.m.; and Mooney against Boardman at 8 p.m.
On July 24 at 8 a.m., Fitch plays Howland followed by Mooney/West Branch at 11 a.m. and Howland/Newton Falls at 5 p.m.
One of the strongest teams in the field will be Doylestown Chippewa, which reached the Division II regional final last fall. Chippewa is led by junior defender Sara Boyan, who was a first-team all-state pick.
Also entered is Mentor Lake Catholic which reached the Div. I district final in 2004.
Cardinal Mooney will be paced by senior midfielder Marisa Simon, an Ohio State recruit.
Other schools entered are St. Paris Graham, Sylvania Southview, Beaumont and Wooster high schools. About 800 soccer players will be in action overall over the two weekends.
No admission will be charged, but a donation will be accepted at the gate.
For details, call DeMay at (330) 519-9918.