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What to Know About... Penn Hills Soccer Winterfest 2013

| Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 1:17 p.m.
Amanda DeVito works to dribble around a defender during last year's Soccerfest tournament. BILL SHIRLEY | FOR THE PENN HILLS PROGRESS
Members of the one of the Penn Hills teams warm up prior to a game in the 2012 Soccerfest tournament. BILL SHIRLEY | FOR THE PENN HILLS PROGRESS

What is it?

Soccer Winterfest is an annual indoor girls soccer tournament organized by the Penn Hills Lady Indians soccer team. Schools throughout the region are invited to field 10-player teams for a daylong tournament Jan. 19 at the Fralic Center, located at 20 Valmartin Drive. This will be the tournament's third year.

Who's playing?

Organizer M.J. Gula said, ideally, this year's tournament will be a 16-team bracket. Teams from Gateway, Franklin Regional, Oakland Catholic, Burrell, Ringgold, Latrobe, Mt. Pleasant, and Baldwin have confirmed their attendance.

More than one

The bracket more than likely will feature multiple Penn Hills teams. Gula said the tournament is an ideal way to develop team skills, particularly for upperclassmen. “It's for grades eight through 11, and it's a good chance for the juniors to take a leadership role as they head into their senior season on the varsity team,” Gula said. “It's also a really good way for the younger girls, especially the ones who haven't played on the high school team before, to get some experience.” Last year's champion was one of the three teams from Penn Hills.

Can we play?

Teams can register through today, Thursday. The cost is $180 per team and $160 for a second team. The format is five-on-five (four, plus a goalkeeper), and all entrants are guaranteed three 17-minute games. All players on a team must be from the same high school. Checks can be made payable to PHHSGSB c/o M.J. Gula, 5832 Heberton Drive, Verona, PA 15147. Gula can be reached at Games will take place throughout the day, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The top two teams will win awards.

Perfect venue

Gula touted the benefits of holding the tournament at the carpeted Fralic Center: “We're really lucky to be able to have our tournament there. A lot of other winter tournaments are played in high school gyms, on the basketball court. So for us, we have a nicer surface, a nicer size and more space to play.”

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

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