Full field ready to kick it
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
June 19, 2003
Youth soccer players will invade Meridian this weekend.
Nearly 1,000 players on 71 different teams will make their way to the Queen City for a chance to win the gold medal at the State Games of Mississippi on Saturday and Sunday.
Meridian Jaycee Soccer Complex and the soccer fields at Northeast Park will host 129 games for five different age groups, as teams in under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16 battle on the pitch for Magnolia State futbol supremacy.
The U8, U10 and U12 teams will compete at Jaycee Soccer Complex while the older two age groups will compete at Northeast Park.
The U8 boys' division fields eight teams divided into two brackets. The NEJSO Terminators, Pearl, MYSO BellSouth Pioneers and LICSA make up the "A" bracket, and Clinton, OSSO, Greenville and MYSO Crowe fill out the "B" bracket.
The top teams from each bracket will battle for the gold medal on Sunday, and the teams with the second-best mark will play for the bronze.
In the U8 girls' division, nine teams are split between three brackets. The South Madison Mystics, SRSC and Greenwood compose the "C" bracket; the "D" bracket is made up of LYCSA, NEJSO Chili Peppers and the South Madison Magic; and Vicksburg, MYSO and SMCS make up the "E" bracket.
The winners of the "C" and "D" brackets will meet in a semifinal match on Sunday, and the winner of the "E" bracket will face the team with the second-best overall mark in the other semifinal match.
The U10 boys' and girls' divisions will follow the same set up as the U8 girls leading to the medal games.
Greenville, LJCSA and the South Madison Mustangs form the "F" bracket in the U10 boys; SRSC, NWRAA Nemesis and MYSO make up the "G" bracket; and Greenwood, Pearl Big Dogs and SMSC form the "H" bracket.
In the U10 girls' division, the "I" bracket is made up of the Brandon Blaze, SRSC Flames and Greenwood Lasers; LYCSA, South Madison Strikers and MYSO form the "J" bracket; and Greenville Jaguars, Reservoir "Y" Strikers and HYSA make up the "K" bracket.
The U12 boys' and girls' divisions follow the U8 system leading up to the medal games, with eight teams divided into two brackets.
Pearl, MYSO, Greenwood and GGSA will battle in the "L" bracket of the U12 boys, and Greenville, SMSC, Clinton Inferno and Brandon Revolution will compete in the "M" bracket.
In the U12 girls' division, South Madison Streak, MYSO Red Hots, Vicksburg and LJCSA will compete in the "N" bracket, and the "O" bracket will be composed of Greenville, GGSA, SMSC and Clinton Phoenix.
The U14 boys' division is also made up of eight teams in two brackets. Pearl, NWRAA, MYSO Forces and GGSA will compete in the "P" bracket, and the "Q" bracket will be made up of SRSC, WRSC, Vicksburg Mustangs and Clinton.
The U14 girls' division will have six teams compete in two brackets, with the first place bracket finishers playing for the gold and the second place finishers competing for the bronze on Sunday.
Clinton, SRSC and South Madison form the "R" bracket for the U14 girls, and the "S" bracket will be made up of LJCSA, NWRAA and Vicksburg.
The U16 boys' division will have uneven brackets with the seven teams being divided into two groups.
Columbus Krew, MYSO Wilson, South Madison and NWRAA will make up the "T" bracket, and MYSO Owen, Clinton and SRSC will play in the "U" bracket.
The winner of the "U" bracket will advance to the semifinals, and the other two "U" bracket teams will play for a spot in the semifinals on Sunday morning. The top two teams in the "T" bracket each get berths into the semifinal matches.
The games will be played under the Mississippi Youth Soccer Association tournament rules, with a few modifications.
All teams will be allowed free substitutions, and the U8 division will be allowed to use one goalkeeper for the entire game, instead of changing for each quarter. Every player must also play a minimum of one quarter.
The matches will begin a 7 a.m. each day, with the final games for Saturday slated to start at 9 p.m. and Sunday should wrap up around 5 p.m.