It was a new idea, a new concept. It had never been tested. Never been tried.
So who, really, knew how the first Columbia Heights Cup soccer tournament would turn out?
No one could know definitively that by playing games simultaneously at three sites in the District, schedules would still work out, teams wouldn’t be waiting for long periods of time in the cold, and everyone would be happy.
Now we know.
With District Sports running the ship, 17 teams enjoyed a day full of competitive soccer games at Cardozo and Bell high schools and Tubman Elementary School — and in between games or once a team was done, everyone headed to sponsor bar Duffy’s Irish Pub.
When all the action was complete, team LFFP ("Little Friend for Peace") — the runners-up of last year’s Holiday Classic, which was played on the same weekend and helped create the idea of the Columbia Heights Cup — emerged victorious and the tournament raised more than $4,600 for DC SCORES.
But while the soccer was competitive, the day wasn’t just about the results on the fields. It was about celebrating a neighborhood that is home to a handful of DC SCORES schools and a sport that unites community members.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, people from the neighborhood stopped by the fields to watch the games, which often featured several former college players (the deciding game between LFFP and Team Zissou was a display of Division I talent as LFFP survived a back-and-forth contest, 4-3).
As teams’ days ended on the field, they made the short walk or drive to Duffy’s at the corner of Vermont and 9th streets. Everyone then settled in as the bar switched all its TVs to the Real Madrid-Barcelona showdown.
With tournament participants streaming in to use their free drink tickets and enjoy exclusive specials, Duffy’s became packed with soccer — or fύtbol — enthusiasts, who thoroughly enjoyed watching Barcelona’s exciting victory.
The day was a huge success thanks, in huge part, to District Sports. Led by Alex Bearman, the longtime partner of DC SCORES organized the Cup, led recruiting efforts, and handled all the tournament-day logistics.
Additionally, Alex garnered a tremendous group of volunteers who oversaw the tournament at each site and handled setup — early in the morning — and breakdown. The referees also came from District Sports.
We’d also like to thank Duffy’s, which for the second consecutive year was an excellent sponsor bar for the location(s) of the tournament, opened up earlier than usual to accommodate tournament participants, and provided a perfect atmosphere. And longtime partner Starbucks provided coffee at the beginning of the tournament, which made a huge difference in getting people excited about playing soccer at 8 a.m.
Thank you, everyone, for a great day of competition and camaraderie to benefit DC SCORES’ youth soccer players!