Penticton soccer tournament stands test of time

The Pacific Western Brewery May Classic is welcoming soccer players back to Penticton for its 51st year this weekend.

One of the longest running tournaments in the country and the Pacific Western Brewery May Classic is welcoming soccer players back to Penticton for its 51st year this weekend.

“It started with just four teams in 1962,” said tournament organizer Charlie Goeckel. “People just enjoy it here. We have some of the best fields in B.C. or anywhere and great facilities like our clubhouse.”

The tournament features three divisions, Skaha Meadows Women’s Open, All’s Well Security Men’s Open and the Women’s Recreational, and brings about 1,200 people to the city on the May long weekend.

“It’s been a great economic benefit to the city filling hotels and restaurants and we have the perfect location at King’s Park,” said Goeckel.

This year the championships are up for grabs as Estrella de Chile, who have held a grip on the men’s title for four years running, could not make the tournament due to prior commitments. In the women’s open, the 2011 champion Langley Extreme also couldn’t make the tournament. Vancouver Westside Wild will return to defend the women’s recreation championship.

Goeckel said the public is invited down to the fields to watch good, competitive soccer and a beer garden with entertainment will be open Saturday to Monday.

The finals in all divisions will be played on Monday. The winning teams and runners-up of the A and B divisions of the tournament receive a complete Adidas uniform set, while the MVP of the tournament and the top goal scorer will receive tracksuits.

Money raised at the tournament will go back into the Penticton Soccer Club as they co-sponsor the Penticton women’s team in the U21 Pacific Coast Reserve Division and men’s U21 Tin Horn Pinnacles.

Penticton has four teams entered into the Pacific Western Brewery May Classic; Last year’s Women’s Open division champions the Pink Panthers, Penticton H&T and X-Pinnacles in the women’s recreation division and the Okanagan Pinnacles men’s team.