Vail Valley Challenge Cup soccer tournament a success |

Vail Valley Challenge Cup soccer tournament a success

Christine Ina Casillas
Vail Valley Cup1 BH 10-5/Mon Photos/Vail Valley Cup 10-5

Hundreds of young soccer players and parents flocked to the Vail Valley for the third Vail Valley Challenge Cup soccer tournament this past weekend.

The tournament featured about 126 teams, ages 10-14, from around the state, playing on 16 fields across the valley from East Vail to Eagle.

The Miller Ranch field in Edwards proved to be the game headquarters, but by the fifth game in the weekends, the young players were pretty winded.

“By the championship games, the kids are tired,” said Nacen Gray, Vail club coach. “The parents are rooting them on, saying, “Come on. Come on. You can do it. Give them all you have.’ And the kids say, “Yes. I’m tired.'”

The Vail Valley Challenge Cup began in 2000 as a way for the area soccer kids to compete in soccer tournaments, Gray said. For other soccer players throughout the state, it was an opportunity to get away from the Front Range and head toward the mountains for a little vacation.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The tournament has gotten bigger throughout the years, and we think it’ll probably get bigger next year,” Gray said.

Three fields in Vail were slated for the tournament this year unless the weather proved otherwise. A back-up plan included fields in Gypsum, he said, but instead of rain or snow which could have stalled the games, players were only exposed to mild wind, slow moving clouds and a brief, late afternoon drizzle.

“We didn’t know what the weather was going to be like for this weekend,” he said. “It’s definitely not as nice as last weekend with the clear blue skies and fall colors.

“But this is usually a tournament weekend,” he said, “for kids who didn’t have a place for a challenge in the second division.”

In previous years, the challenge has drawn nearly 3,500 players, families and spectators to the valley. More than 875 rooms were booked for the weekend in conjunction with the challenge.

“They’re all Colorado teams who play in the tournament,” Gray said.

For more information, visit the Web site at

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at

Support Local Journalism