Clarion River Valley Strikers Host Saturday Night Lights Tournament at Clarion County Park (08/29/16)
(By Matt Lerch)
The Clarion River Valley Strikers Soccer organization hosted the first annual Clarion Night Lights Classic soccer tournament August 27 at the Clarion County Park. The tournament saw 8 soccer teams compete from 6PM to midnight under the bright lights of the Clarion County Park.
Soccer teams from Mercer, Dubois, Grove City and as far away as Warren saw action against 3 Clarion Strikers teams playing in the U12 division of PA West Soccer which is aligned with US Soccer and FIFA.
The Strikers are about to start their fall season starting September 11 through October 30. The tournament was designed to be a preseason harbinger of events bringing in over 100 soccer players and coaches from Northwest PA. With the soccer players came parents and grandparents with total attendees stretching to over 300 people, filling the lots of the Clarion County Park. Thanks to the generosity of Olympia Sports providing free T-shirt coupons, many attendees visited the Clarion Mall in need of soccer cleats, shin guards and other soccer equipment bringing in tourism dollars from outside the area.
Strikers President Marcus Bingham had the original vision of bringing a soccer tournament to Clarion after visiting Spider Lake Tournament in Dubois and the Edinboro University tournament. He asked “what is unique about Clarion County Park? Its lights….we have lights.” An abridged version of the tournament was held in mid October, 2015 to see if the lights would still work since they hadn’t been used in years. With the small tournament being successful, the Strikers organization pulled together its volunteers and pulled off an event that was overwhelmingly positively received by Clarion County soccer parents and visiting parents and coaches. With music, food and soccer the kids representing every school district in Clarion County were able to enjoy a night to remember at the remarkable Clarion County Park.
(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article. Have a great season, Strikers!!!!)