8/20/2014 2:47:00 PM Annual free soccer tourney held in Ephrata
Submitted Photo An Othello 11-U soccer team poses after dividing up for the three-on-three tournament in Ephrata last Saturday and taking first and second place. From left: (top row) Coach Bernie Garza, Francisco Farias, Chon Saucedo, Brandon Garza, Jonathan Alfaro, Alfonzo Alfaro, Isac Rodriguez, Juan Arechiga, Jonathan Maybry and Coach Lupe Garza; (bottom row) Tristen Eldred, Don Eldred, Angel Martinez, Anthony Nunez, Rigo Garza, Adan Morphin, Diego Lauriano.
Othello's annual free three-on-three tournament, the Cobra 3-on-3 tournament, took place outside city limits last Saturday, as tournament director and founder Kevin McDonald took a one-year hiatus from putting the tournament together. Ephrata was the host town for the tournament this year, as area soccer coaches ran the tournament under its same parameters. McDonald attended the tournament in Ephrata despite the fact he did not run it this year. He said the decline in participation was a small hiccup on an otherwise great day. The one-day tournament saw 34 teams turn out to compete this year, compared to more than 60 last year in Othello. "It went really well," McDonald said. "There was a smaller outcome of teams this year, but everything went well. Nobody got injured and everybody had a good time. Everybody who went there is already looking forward to next year." McDonald said the tournament will return to its hometown of Othello next year as he reassumes the helm. "Next year, we will be back in Othello," he said. "It will be the five-year anniversary so we will have to do it big." The tournament crowned champions in 10 different divisions, with the youngest division being the 9-U boys group and the oldest being the high school group. Othello teams won six of the 10 available titles. There were four boys divisions and five girls divisions in addition to the high school divisions. The winning teams by division were: Huskies (9-U boys, Othello); Lady Huskies (10-U girls, Othello); Tigers (11-U girls, Othello); Barcelona #1 (11-U boys, Othello); Turf Queens (12-U girls, Othello); Cobra FC #1 (12-U boys, Othello); Morritos (13-U boys, Mattawa); Fire (14-U girls, Wenatchee); Sounders (14-U girls, Moses Lake); and Warden United (high school, Warden). McDonald said everybody appeared to have a great time and players are already excited for next year's tournament. "They are ready to go now," he said. "They wish they could do something like that every weekend, just because it is so much fun and the kids get a lot of touches on the ball." The tournament is free for all players and teams that want to show up. While not running the event this year, McDonald said he made sure it would stay free and it will continue to be free in years to come. "It will be free to everybody who wants to come," he said. "That's our big selling point because we don't want the money to be an issue to where they can't participate. That is our whole key." The tournament's founder said the decline in participating teams was unfortunate because he always wants the most participation possible and he hopes the numbers will bounce back when the event comes back to Othello next year. "I think we have enough great businesses and great people around to help make this happen for the kids and it just gives our community more to do," McDonald said.