SOYSA makes tough call to cancel popular soccer tournament

Sixteenth Peach City Classic tournament cancelled this year

There won’t be any great bicycle kick goals, fantastic headers or amazing saves to watch during the Peach City Classic soccer tournament.

The 16th edition of the tournament will have to wait a year due to unforeseen circumstances.

Ezra Cremers, executive director/head coach of Pinnacles FC, said the combination of the Rock the Peach concert, field conditions and accommodations has led to the decision to not host this year. It was a difficult decision to make, said Cremers.

“We like to have tournaments here in Penticton,” said Cremers. “Not just for football reasons or player development, and our teams staying locally, but obviously we want to do our part as a club to promote Penticton because it helps out the community, the economy.”

Initially a decision was made to move the date back as the city needed time to make sure Kings Park fields are in top condition following the Rock the Peach concert being held July 27 to 29. What the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association didn’t foresee was that moving it back encroached with when athletes will arrive for the Subaru Ironman Canada triathlon. Several athletes arrive a week before. Because of that, there wasn’t enough accommodations for the 35 teams they already had registered. Cremers also received calls asking if they had enough room to accommodate everyone.

“This tournament used to be 90-plus teams at one point,” said Cremers.

That led to him talking about the timing of the event.

“Middle of August is not an ideal time for us to host a tournament,” he said. “Based on the last couple of years, the amount of teams coming here has declined.”

SOYSA’s plan is to re-evaluate what dates work best. They intend to work with Penticton and Wine Country Tourism to know what weekend is ideal for accommodations. In changing the date of the tournament, SOYSA is considering Labour Day weekend or Canada Day weekend.

They will work with the city to find a scenario that is win-win for both sides.

“We’re going to do it right or not at all,” said Cremers. “We want teams to come back and we want teams to spread the word.”

With some teams still visiting Penticton, Cremers said that exhibition games will take place. There are no details as to which teams would play those games.