The Viking Cup Soccer Tournament is unquestionably the biggest athletic event of the year in the North Kitsap area.
Since 1985, it has wowed soccer fans throughout Washington. From May 25-28, roughly 1,600 soccer players and a host of parents, family members and fans will converge on Poulsbo and Kingston for an exciting Memorial Day weekend full of all things soccer during the North Kitsap Soccer Club’s 23rd annual Viking Cup.
Viking Cup director Cam Corey said he expects 108 teams to compete in the tournament. Every team entering the tournament is guaranteed three games. Boys and girls between the ages of 11-19 are eligible to participate.
“It takes so much planning to get everything ready for it,” Corey said. “It takes a lot of effort and is a big deal around here.”
Games will be played at 11 fields throughout the North Kitsap area. The venues are located at North Kitsap High School, Poulsbo Junior High, Kingston Junior High, Wolfle Elementary and Strawberry Field.
“There’s no way we could put on this tournament without the help of volunteers and the help of the North Kitsap School District,” Corey said. “It wouldn’t be possible without their efforts. We will have about 125 volunteers working the tournament Memorial Day weekend.”
“The atmosphere is electric and uplifting. The players are so passionate. You just have to be there to feel it. There’s always four games going on at once,” Corey said. “Last year we had terrible weather, so we’re hoping we get better weather this year. If it happens, it’s a good thing because teams hang around and watch a bunch of the other games being played.”
Proceeds from Viking Cup go to the North Kitsap Soccer Club. The money the NKSC receives from the event goes right back into helping children become better soccer players.
“This is our only fund raiser of the year,” North Kitsap Soccer Club President Aaron Vernik said. “Because of this tournament, we’re able to provide player development and scholarships to children participating in the soccer club throughout the year. It covers a lot of costs and fees for the club.”
Vernik said Viking Cup gives back further by significantly benefitting the North Kitsap area economy.
“I think it provides a big boost to our local economy,” he said. “It’s a really fun event that brings in a lot of people from different places. Some of our referees are even coming up from California to work the tournament.”
North Kitsap High School soccer coach Chris May said he enjoys seeing a large number of teams converge on Poulsbo each May for the Viking Cup.
“It’s a great tournament. The kids enjoy it,” he said. “It’s definitely in line with the whole Poulsbo experience. It’s a great hometown tournament and its always been fun. There are so many teams from all over who come.”
May said high school players typically are in peak physical condition during the Viking Cup.
“The timing is good too because the high school season has just ended,” he said. “The players are in pretty good shape and are ready for the tourney.”
At conclusion of the championship matches in each individual division on May 28, awards will be doled out to those teams taking first place in their respective divisions.