17th Annual Millet Soccer Tournament


Seventeen years of hosting this Millet Soccer Tournament is quite an accomplishment. One that the Alberta Soccer Association recognizes, and “awards seniority to, disallowing other soccer tournaments to take place on this same week-end” shares Tony Wadsworth, a loyal contributor to this ‘historic’ sports event who doesn’t have kids in the program anymore, but whose enthusiasm for the sport remains vibrant.
On this mostly rainy and windy weekend, the action was spread out on Millet’s numerous soccer fields. With fifty visiting teams and accompanying parents, grand-parents, siblings and other spectators, Millet’s population actually doubles on this weekend every year! 
An interesting fact is that the Town of Millet was scheduled to start a large construction project near the site of Pipestone Park Soccer Field, but Town Council reconsidered and postponed the start date to support the awesome hospitality job its Soccer Association delivers on this particular weekend. The City of Wetaskiwin was also eager to offer its hospitality to young Alberta soccer players and their families, so with 50 teams (yes, fifty!) on the roster, the Tournament Committee gratefully agreed to direct some of the 102 games to take place in that city.
Millet’s Paul Pay Soccer Field on the south-west side of town is named after a former Millet resident who all those years ago, as a young dad, decided that soccer looked like a fun sport for his young son and created the Millet Soccer Association without any soccer knowledge. He worked hard at this, until work relocated him and his family to Ontario a few years later. The irrigation system was improved recently at Paul Pay Field: this is a dynamic Town’s step towards improving the playing experience for soccer players of all ages.
Guests of this Millet Tournament hail from Stettler, Edmonton, Peace River, Olds, Carstairs, Acme, Viking, Ponoka and Rocky Mountain House.  It is fascinating to observe that more than half of these soccer players are under the age of 12: a tender age to develop a competitive spirit! The first day of the Tournament saw blue skies and a bright sun compete with dark clouds and gusty winds: the Sunday games were played mostly in the rain, however that didn’t slow down the play much. Nicole Luebke, a cheerful mom of two players shared that this tournament is a favorite of many Alberta teams: that she and her family always enjoy it and always plan to attend. Dee, a soccer mom who grew up in this region, was hospitable and helpful in directing this writer to the proper officials. A few quiet moments away from the pounding rain were gratefully gained in the Officials’ shelter.
Sunday afternoon didn’t see an improvement in the day’s weather: a heavy rain created huge puddles in the fields, and it was amazing to witness the brave sportsmanship of both male and female players, who ran, kicked, scored and kept their balance despite the water splashes that sometimes reached above their heads. Being asked about their confidence when playing in such a weather, several youngsters, boys and girls alike, shared that it was fun but that there was also a tiny element of fear… 
The logistics of planning 102 games within a two-day period are simply mind-boggling, but it was said that after seventeen years, the organisers knew what they’re doing: the smooth delivery of the schedule and the fast-paced medals ceremonies proved it!
After each game on the second day, medals and trophies were handed out, and local teams proudly received their share of the tournament’s hardware. MILLET’S U-12 GIRLS’ TEAM The Lamborghinis in their yellow jerseys were proud to accept their individual silver medals, and their team trophy.  One girl on this team was extra proud, as her dad Derwin Herrera got his company POWELL CANADA to loan a state-of-the-art barbecue to the tournament Committee at Pipestone Park. Concessions were set up at each of the three soccer fields, and volunteers worked together cheerfully despite the inclement weather.  Aside from a young lady’s sore hip, no serious injuries were reported due to the excessive amount of water flooding the fields. 
The WETASKIWIN U-16 BOYS TEAM proudly received individual Gold Medals and an impressive trophy after their win against Peace River in a 4-0 final game.  Soaked from head to toe, the young men were in great spirits: their Tournament Coach Steve Mulley along with their Head Coach Darrin Rasmuson shared with assistant coaches the pride of a tournament well played.  Millet Soccer Association officials Wayne DiLallo and Jeannette Johnson were knowledgeable and helpful board members who seemed happy to share information about their tournament. Another impressive fact is that the Millet Soccer Association includes 30 kids in U-4 (younger than 4!) and seventy kids under 6.
All in all, the 17th Annual Millet Soccer Tournament was well planned and well played: the season is not over, and the Pipestone Flyer sends a heartfelt CONGRATS to all the participants.
Note: Pipestone Flyer writer Dominique Vrolyk is proud to share that four of her five kids played soccer through school in Calmar, and she always enjoyed the sport’s outdoors benefits, the action on the field, and the other soccer parents!
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