By Nehalem Manka EBS CONTRIBUTOR
Big Sky Futbol Club’s inaugural season culminated with four teams traveling to Kalispell in northwest Montana to play in the Three Blind Refs tournament over the weekend of June 21-22, competing against elite teams from Montana, Canada and Idaho.
Big Sky FC had over one hundred athletes this season who played in programs ranging from micro-recreational leagues to competitive traveling teams. The season was highlighted by tournaments in Helena and Kalispell, as well as several weekends of competitive and friendly games hosted at the Big Sky Community Park.
“The season went by in the blink of an eye, but it was fun to watch my team progress on a daily basis,” Doug Hare, coach of the U14 team, said. “And I’m excited that some of our players are already planning to play pick-up games at the park over the summer. It’s crucial for these kids get some touches in over the next three months to keep their momentum going forward.”
At the Three Blind Refs tournament, U10 girls played hard and were able to make it to the semi-finals in their division. Big Sky FC athletes were persistent throughout their games and put in enormous effort until the final whistle blew, each playing four matches under mostly ideal conditions.
“The tournament was a great opportunity for our traveling teams to play against international and out-of-state clubs … It was really great to see the high level of competition against the teams we played,” Big Sky FC Director and U12 girls Coach Kim Dickerson said.
The recreational teams will continue to play until June 14, and Mini-Challengers will be playing through June 21. Come support the recreational league players, including kindergarten, first and second graders, on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. at the Big Sky Community Park.
The club is already looking ahead toward the upcoming fall season, during which they will be offering the same programs as were offered this spring, in addition to the high school team coming back in full swing. Additional information will be released in the coming weeks, regarding registration and program options. To view this information please refer to bigskyfc.org.
For adults looking to play soccer this summer, there will be pickup games at the Big Sky Community Park. To keep informed about local pickup games, check the Facebook group page for the Big Sky Soccer and Social Club.
Big Sky FC will also be hosting viewing parties of the Women’s World Cup in the upstairs area of the Lone Peak Cinema. The tournament kicks off with the United States taking on Thailand at 1 p.m. on June 11.
Looking back on the season, Club Director Kim Dickerson said that thanks to local sponsors like Hungry Moose Market and Deli in a little over two months, soccer has gained strong footing in Big Sky and the future of “the beautiful game” in Big Sky looks bright.