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Youth soccer brings in big numbers

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
June 15, 2001
While the exact numbers won't be in for another couple of weeks, the State Games of Mississippi youth soccer competition already appears to be the most popular sport in the 10th anniversary Games.
A grand total of 71 youth girls' and boys' teams will converge on four locations this weekend: The Jaycee Soccer Complex, Northeast Park, Meridian High School and Kate Griffin Junior High School.
Action was to get under bright and early Saturday morning at all four locations, with games getting started at 7 a.m.
There are eight teams in both the boys' and girls' brackets of the Under-8 division, as well as eight apiece in both brackets of the Under-10 and Under-12 divisions. The Under-14 boys' division has a full field of eight teams, while the Under-14 girls' bracket has six; the Under-16 boys' field has five; and the Under-16 girls' bracket has four.
Most of the teams had to place in district competitions around the state back on June 2-3 in order to qualify for the youth soccer recreational finals this weekend in Meridian.
Action continues throughout Saturday night, with games slated to start as late as 8:30 p.m., with all of the medal-round contests to take place Sunday.
The Jaycee Soccer Complex will host the gold/silver and bronze-medal games Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the girls' and boys' divisions of U-8, U-10 and U-12.
Under-14 medal games will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Northeast Park, while Under-16 teams will also complete their round-robin tournament play Sunday at Northeast Park and Meridian High.
Rocky Higginbotham is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.
Opening ceremonies held tonight
More than 10,000 spectators and athletes are expected to fill Ray Stadium tonight for the Opening Ceremonies for the 2001 State Games of Mississippi.
The program will start at 7:30 p.m. with the parade of athletes.
The Open Ceremonies will officially start the State Games which are held this weekend and next weekend.
The event will be capped off by a giant fireworks display and a concert performed by classic rock band U.S.

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