About 80 teams comprising more than 1,000 players competed in the first Summer Night Lights soccer tournament July 15-18 at Deseret Peak Complex, Tooele High School and Stansbury High School. Elite FC hosted the tourney to provide teams the opportunity to play under the lights.
The field included teams from throughout Utah, one from Minnesota and another from Arizona.
Three local boys teams and three area girls teams brought home championship medals.
Boys teams were TC United B09 Gold, Elite FC 07, and Elite FC 04. Girls championship teams were Elite FC 12, Elite FC Power 11, and Elite FC 10.
The Elite FC Power 11 girls team faced several challenging moments both on and off the field en route to the championship, according to coach Sid Nixon.
One of the Elite FC girls, Abby Scott, underwent spinal surgery the morning after playing in the first two games of the tournament..
“We dedicated the season to her,” Nixon said.
Halfway through the tournament, coach Sid Nixon received a call that his father Steven Nixon unexpectedly passed away at age 66. The coach and his daughter Harper missed the final few games of the tournament to travel to Cedar City for his father’s funeral.
“My dad is one of the most sentimental sports fans you’d ever meet and loved coming to our girls games. He played for one of the very first Kearns High soccer teams and coached me as a kid,” Sid Nixon said.
Also the coach said one of the opposing teams’ players yelled racial slurs at one of his players during an important game.
After some hard fought battles and tie games, the team rose to the challenge and were crowned champions winning the final game in a shootout.
“Our family watched by FaceTime huddled in a park crying,” the coach said.
Elite FC plans to host the tournament again next year.
“It’s great to host a tournament like this because usually we have to travel,” said Spencer Call, assistant director of coaching for Elite FC and tournament scheduler. “This tourney by far exceeded our expectations with 80 teams. We thought we might get 50 at the most. I’ve been here for 36 years in Tooele and have never seen anything like it.”
For more information about the tournament see EliteFCutah.com