A REAL HOLIDAY KICK SIMI SOCCER COMPETITION JOINS YOUTHS.
SIMI VALLEY - After toiling in local soccer competition throughout most of his amateur career, 8-year-old Jamison Jordan was ready for the big time.
Having helped his team, the Camarillo Eagles, advance to the finals in the under 10 competition at the ninth annual Simi Valley Labor Day Invitational tournament Sunday, he had his eye on one day turning pro.
With 170 teams from across the county and state, as well as Arizona and Utah, playing at four locations in Simi Valley, Jamison said the tournament already has a professional-like feel to it.
``I like playing teams from different places,'' he said. ``It's exciting. You don't play teams you already know about. It makes it more competitive. We play different places and different teams like the pros.''
Competition for boys and girls is divided into age groups ranging from 7 to 18, with the older players hoping to catch the eye of college recruiters scouring the grounds for fresh talent, organizers said.
Games were played at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park, Simi Valley High School, Santa Susana High School and Arroyo Vista Community Park in Moorpark.
The younger squads, who like everyone else are decked out in professional-quality uniforms, are on the brink of highly competitive soccer, organizers said.
``It's pretty much for fun,'' said Armando French, who spends six months each year planning the event, which ends today. ``They enjoy it and they learn a lot. We recognize that the younger kids are having fun and learning. We don't put the same kind of pressure on them. The kids are excited because it's constant action. There are no time outs or sitting around the outfield waiting for a ball.''
Watching Jamison from the sidelines, his father, Fred, said he was impressed by the show of unity among the players, who only formed the team last February for the four tournaments it will play this summer.
``It's taught them a lot of things other than soccer,'' said his dad, a 36-year-old building contractor. ``They've made a lot of friends. Before the season, most of the kids didn't know each other.''
The tournament is supported by the $395-per-team entry fee.
But the real benefactors are Conejo Valley area hotels, which French said are all sold out this weekend.
(1 -- color) Players from the under 10 Simi Valley Kickers and Eagles face-off Sunday during the annual Labor Day Invitational tournament.
(2 -- color) Woodland Hills Samba member Brandon Louis encourages teammates Sunday during play at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park.
(3 -- 4 -- color -- ran in Conejo edition only) Woodland Hills Samba coach Gary Ketikuan, above, puts the finishing touches on Sunday's game with players during a huddle. At right, Simi Valley Eclipse goalie Madiline Casanova, of the girls under 10 team, practices before a game Sunday during the annual soccer tournament.
Lilly Barrett/Special to the Daily News
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Sep 4, 2000|
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