Soccer in December may sound a bit odd to some but not for the as many as 3,000 players expected to pass through the doors of the BMO Centre to take part in the annual Scrooge Indoor Soccer Tournament.
Organized by the London Optimist Sports Centre (LOSC), the event has more than tripled in size since its humble beginnings 11 years ago.
Over 200 teams — a record for the tournament — with players ranging in age from nine and up are slated to take to the BMO field over the eight days of scheduled competition.
Drawing teams from across southwestern Ontario, the tournament has become a staple on the calendar of many teams.
“We get an excellent response from everyone,” said LOSC president Tom Partalas. “We have been building this up year by year and now we are seeing the fruits of our labour.” Partalas attributes a lot of the event’s success in part to the BMO Centre — a facility he calls London’s best kept secret — and the tremendous effort of the volunteer staff who organize and run the tournament. “Everyone who comes here, they love the facility, they love the environment and they love everything we offer them.”
One of those making the trek to London was George Stoukas who brought his Girls Under 10 team up from Sarnia to participate in the tournament for the first time. Remarking that there is no comparable facility anywhere near this caliber in Sarnia, Stoukas said the players just love coming to London to play at the BMO Centre. Combine the field, the people and the event all together he said, “It makes for a really great day.”