Rain can’t drown soccer fans at 2017 ‘Ice Breaker’

Ice Breaker Tournament, Soccer, St. George, Utah, Feb. 18, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The traditional Dixie sunshine played hide-and-seek Saturday, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of soccer fans and players, some 15,000 strong, from kicking off the spring season in the Ice Breaker Soccer Tournament at various venues throughout southern Utah.

Ice Breaker Tournament, Soccer, St. George, Utah, Feb. 18, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

With more than 250 teams competing in St. George, Washington and Hurricane, southern Utah locals are certainly feeling the influx of visitors to the area, especially with the soccer tourney coinciding with the St. George Parade of Homes as well as baseball and rugby tourneys around the county.

This tournament attracts teams from all around the intermountain region, with approximately 90 percent of the participating teams from outside the St. George area. This influx of visitors – who pay for lodging at area hotels, buy meals at local restaurants and shop at area retail stores – are expected to infuse large amounts of money into the local economy.

“This a terrific start to a busy season for sports in our region and it adds a nice boost to our economy,” said Kevin Lewis, Director of the St. George Area Sports Commission.

The soccer tournament is sanctioned by the United States Specialty Sports Association and involves boys and girls soccer players between the ages of 8 and 18. There are 44 divisions with a full slate of games Feb. 18, then picking up again Feb. 20.

“Most tournaments are three days of straight soccer. Ours is unique as we do a full day of soccer on Saturday – everyone plays two games – then break Sunday, which gives everyone a chance to enjoy their surroundings and do a little more than just play soccer,” said David Horn, whose company, Utah Sports Lodge, organizes and runs the Ice Breaker Tournament. “We keep the excitement alive by giving everyone a game Monday morning and then those in the finals play Monday afternoon. The combination of sun, fun and soccer makes this an event to remember.”

St. George News photographer Robert Hoppie captured some of the soccer competition around St. George on Saturday and presents these photos:

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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