Bellingham played host to the USASA Adult Soccer Fest for the first time in 10 years. // Photo By Oliver Hamlin
By Jon Foster
Adult soccer teams from across the country gathered in Bellingham July 10-15 to compete in the United States Adult Soccer Association’s 20th annual Adult Soccer Fest.
As the country’s largest adult soccer event, Soccer Fest was originally called the Veterans Cup and was created to provide high-level soccer for men and women of any age.
The tournament, created in 1998, held its inaugural event in Bellingham and returned home for its 20th anniversary at Phillips 66 Soccer Park.
Bobby Lane plays for the men’s over-55 team, called the TA2 Saints, and has been competing since 2003. He participated in the 2003 Honolulu Veterans Cup where his team won the championship.
“The camaraderie means as much to me as the competition does,” Lane said. “After the game we get together and have fun.”
Lane’s team lost this year during the group games. He said that while he is disappointed at the loss, he is happy for the other teams. “We had a great time,” Lane said. “You get to make long-term friends playing at these competitions.
“This venue, Bellingham, is just really nice,” Lane said. “It’s hard to get distracted but there are plenty of diversions once the game is done.”
He said the team went to The Firefly Lounge after the game.
“What made this special for Bellingham was the amount of participation from teams across the country,” John Purtteman, Lane’s teammate, said.
When Purtteman first started playing soccer, he said he enjoyed what he was able to discover about himself.
“Now it’s about the connections and relationships you make while playing,” Purtteman said. “The most memorable moment for me this year was off the field.”
Fourth-year volunteer referee Victor Borges said one of the perks of the tournament is the ability to work with high-level referees.
Borges said he ran more than six and half miles during one men’s over-40 match.
The championship started early on Sunday, with the men’s 55 and women’s 40 and 55 games kicking off at 7:30 a.m.
By early afternoon the championship was done. Cezar Wasecki, the tournament director, presented the teams with their medals and trophy before their group photos.