Soccer tournament brings smiles

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 06:45 PM

Three 90-minute soccer games over the course of two days is nothing for Carter Huffman.
The 13-year-old Greensboro boy, along with his parents, Jeff and Lisa, are among the estimated 8,000 people in High Point this weekend taking part in the Furniture City Classic Soccer Tournament.
The teams compete at the “select” level of play, which is considered more challenging than the recreational level.
“It’s fun. You don’t get tired,” said Carter, who competed Saturday at the Morehead Recreation Center fields, one of four venues across the city hosting the games. “You can be creative. You don’t have timeouts. You can do what you want with the ball. It’s basically an open field that you can kick around and do what you want with it and try and put it in the net.”
The tournament, which has been held in High Point for 29 years and is one of the city’s largest tourist events, drew more than 120 teams from the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia.
It also showcases the sport’s growing popularity for players like Kyle Pichon of High Point, whose parents, Mark and Mary Beth, brought him to his game at the recreation center Saturday.
“He’d like to play pro. He’d like to get in with MLS,” said Mary Beth Pichon. “It’s definitely a growing sport.”
The excitement of this summer’s World Cup renewed talk about how soccer stacks up against other major sports, in terms of viewership.
“It’s picked up, but it’s taken forever,” said Mark Pichon. “I played as a kid, and it’s just that slow growth.”
Kellie Bennett of Kernersville, whose son, Trey, was playing at Morehead Saturday, said the game has special appeal to the generation competing this weekend. 
“I think in this age group, it is the sport,” she said.