The St. Michael the Archangel soccer program was forced to cancel its annual Holiday Cup tournament this weekend after heavy rains saturated playing fields.
The seventh edition of the tournament would have featured 46 programs from around the state, including boys and girls varsity and junior varsity teams.
“We’ve never had to do that for a tournament,” said Paul Fletcher, St. Michael coach and tournament director. “We’ve had rain during a tournament, and we’ve shortened or modified, but never just shut down a tournament.
“I’m crushed. … It’s a lot of work and planning that won’t go anywhere.”
The original plan was for the two-day Holiday Cup to be played at the Burbank Soccer Complex, but it was moved to the Independence Community Park. Fields at the Burbank Complex have been closed for several days due to saturated fields, and the decision to cancel the tournament all together was made Friday morning once organizers realized the Independence fields suffered the same fate.
Fletcher said it most likely won’t be possible to reschedule games for a later date because most teams start their district schedules in the next few weeks. The Holiday Cup was intentionally designed to be a last opportunity to play tournament soccer before district play.
The tournament was originally designed to fund a large portion of the Warriors soccer programs’ seasons, but Fletcher and fellow organizers put the safety of players first.
“As a coach, putting players on the field because of my decision to go forward — I wouldn’t want that as a parent, coach or tournament director,” Fletcher said. “To say that the tournament was more important than the safety of the players, I just couldn’t do that in good faith.”
Despite this year’s disappointment, Fletcher said he has every intention to continue hosting the tournament in the future.
HAWKINS CLASSIC: Southern Lab hosts the first Joel Hawkins Classic starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Southern University’s F.G. Clark Center.
Belaire takes on Beau Chene in the first game at 3:30 p.m. Landry-Walker takes on Comeaux at 5 p.m., followed by Northside vs. Port Allen at 6:30 p.m. Host Southern Lab meets Madison Prep in the last game set for 8 p.m.