A number of events are celebrating anniversaries in Foley this weekend. The 16th Annual Southern Shootout High School Soccer Tournament is being held at Foley Sports Tourism (FST) for the first time and promises to be the largest held in the event’s history.
Chad Harrelson, the tournament’s director said more than 75 high school varsity and junior varsity teams from across the state of Alabama are competing Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17. Teams are heading in from as far as Guntersville and Huntsville to face competition they might not usually see.
“It’s a popular tournament because it’s the beginning of the season and teams get a chance to practice,” Harrelson said. “It’s also like ten tournaments in one because it’s broken down into brackets. I work to place teams against each other that are on similar skill levels but don’t usually face each other. I put them against different teams and different faces.”
The chance at fresh competition has kept the tournament growing from year to year. Harrelson said the most he’s had register in previous years is around 60 teams. This year he’s bringing in 78. But the promise of playing new teams isn’t all that’s drawing them.
“The fields in Foley are unbelievable,” Harrelson said. “(Foley Sports Tourism) allows me to do the entire tournament in one spot. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the state of Alabama that could host a tournament of this size all in one spot.”
City of Foley Director of Recreation and Sports Tourism David Thompson said the word is getting around on all that FST has to offer.
“We’re continuing to grow with each event and word is getting around,” Thompson said. “This facility was built on the mission of becoming a world-class sports destination. Holding larger and larger tournaments like the Southern Shootout not only gives Foley a growing economic impact, it allows our tournament directors to see growth in their events and want to return.”
The 16th Annual Southern Shootout High School Soccer Tournament kicks off Thursday evening and runs through about 6 p.m. on Saturday. The event is open to the public, but there is a charge for admission. A weekend pass is $15 for adults, $10 for students and free for those 5-years-old and under. A day pass runs $10 for an adult, $5 for a student and free for those 5-years-old and under.
For more information on this or any FST events, visit our events page.