Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Organizers Get Their Kicks in a Massive Soccer Event

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Organizers Get Their Kicks in a Massive Soccer Event

Article excerpt

Soccer Central, in the heart of Cosmo Park, is a beehive of activity on Saturday morning.

Referees try to relax and find some rekindled energy with fresh fruit, bananas, oranges and grapes. Sandy Callahan, of Jefferson City, is in charge of the officials, 110 of them. And she dispatches them to fields, hopefully in good spirits.

Four failed to report for duty Saturday, so Callahan is juggling her lineup. "Actually, I'm the wife and mother of three referees," she said, explaining how a quiet, unassuming woman from central Missouri got herself into such a fix.

Nearby at Soccer Central, Jean Niedermeyer directs her staff of volunteers. She had about 60 men and women giving of their time this weekend.

Her workers coordinate the action on the field with the official scoring table. They also help park the cars, which stream constantly into the park from morning to night.

This is the Show-Me State Games, and it is an impressive display of cooperation and sportsmanship.

Over two weekends, 333 teams and 5,994 players will get a taste of the largest soccer tournament in the Midwest and one of the largest in the nation.

Call this Soccer For The Ages. Children as young as 6 are competing in the under-8 age group. In the senior group, the St. Louis Olympians, coached by Harry Keough, has one player who is 77, Harry's brother, Bob.

Fred Tonnies, soccer commissioner for the Show-Me State Games, played for the Missouri Senior Select team, comprised of players from Columbia. Over the two weekends, 598 games will be played and 50 sets of medals will be awarded.

Teams were put into either competitive or recreational divisions. At various district meetings around the state, information about coaches and players is discussed and teams are placed in equitable divisions. It's not an exact science, Tonnies said.

There are three clinics for referees in conjunction with the games. Referees are graded in the classroom and on the field.

"It's a great experience for anyone who wanted to get involved with that aspect of soccer," Tonnies said.

"And we're sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, so these games count." Tonnies said, referring to referees who also work for certification. …

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