FOLEY, AL — Day one in its inaugural hosting of an NCAA D-1 conference championship tournament for the new Foley Sports Tourism Complex is in the books. And drawing rave reviews.
The SunBelt Women’s Soccer Championship kicked off with quarterfinals on Wednesday, with a quartet of shutout games.
The teams and conference expressed appreciation for the Foley hospitality, the tournament organization and field conditions.
Coastal Carolina took down Arkansas State in the tournament opening, 3-0. Little Rock eliminated UL Monroe, 2-0. Appalachian State kept the shutout string going with a 3-0 win over UL Lafayette. Number one seed South Alabama squeezed out a close 1-0 victory over Troy in the opening round nightcap under the lights.
Semifinal games are scheduled for Friday: Coastal faces Arkansas St. at 4:00 pm (CDT) and Appy State meets South at 7:00. Winners advance to the championship game Sunday afternoon at 1:00 (CST — Sun. Nov. 6 is this year’s shift back to standard time).
Foley’s Director of Sports Tourism and former long time Alabama soccer coach Don Staley was emotional at the close of his facility’s first major NCAA conference tournament. “At the final whistle in tonight’s South Alabama/ Troy University game, I was able to finally reflect on getting to this monumental point,” said Staley. “Congratulations to the city of Foley, the entire city staff, my incredible Foley Sports Tourism staff and the Sun Belt Conference and coaches for trusting their prestigious tournament to us almost 8 months ago, when we were still building. No question the coaches student athletes, officials and fans we’re exposed to one of the new shining star soccer complexes in the country today.”
The tournament soccer action picks up even more pace this weekend at the Foley complex, with opening play of the Alabama Soccer Association’s (ASA) “Alabama Cup” youth soccer state championship. The tournament begins Nov. 5-6 on the Foley fields with Division 2 preliminary rounds for boys and girls (U14-U19). Alabama Cup action continues next weekend, Nov. 12-13 with Division 1 boys and girls (U15-U-19) and the Division 2 Final Four. Winners in Foley advance on to represent Alabama in the national tournament of U.S. Soccer.