Six reigning Central Section soccer champions – three boys and three girls – are among the 48 teams entered in this weekend’s Harold S. Young Tournament at Buchanan High.
Play begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday on 12 fields across the Buchanan Educational Complex in Clovis. Finals are set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the boys’ Premier (Field 2) and Elite (Field 4) divisions, and 1 p.m. for the girls on Field 1.
“We’re really excited about the quality of competition,” said Buchanan athletic director James Gambrell, whose school is running the tournament for the third straight year. “You get teams like Reedley, Farmersville, Mendota or Dinuba and they come in here and have the opportunity to play Division I schools.
“Soccer is one of those sports where it doesn’t matter if you are a D-I, D-III or D-IV school. It’s great to see those (lower-division) schools come in and compete against a TRAC school or a D-I school.”
Soccer is one of those sports where it doesn’t matter if you are a D-I, D-III or D-IV school. It’s great to see those (lower division) schools come in and compete against a TRAC school or a D-I school.
Buchanan AD James Gambrell, whose school is hosting the Harold S. Young soccer tournament for the third straight year.
The 16-team Premier Division features eight teams who reached section semifinals last season, headlined by defending D-I champion and this season’s section top-ranked Buchanan. The Bears are rated No. 9 in California and No. 17 nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Reigning D-III champ Dinuba, D-II runner-up Monache, D-IV runner-up McLane and semifinalists Clovis North (D-I), Central (D-I), Reedley (D-II) and Golden West (D-II), as well as a pair of Southern California powers in El Toro-Lake Forest and South Gate also are in the field. El Toro was a CIF Southern California Regional Division I runner-up last season. South Gate was a Los Angeles Section Division I quarterfinalist.
The Elite Division counts defending D-VI champion Avenal and San Diego Section Division II semifinalist San Marcos among its 16-team field.
“This tournament gives everyone a chance to see what everyone’s got in the early stages of the season,” said Buchanan boys coach John Spurgeon, who returns 18 players, including standout striker J.T. Arruda, from a team that went 21-3-1 last season while winning the section D-I title for the second straight season and third time in four years.
6 Returning Central Section champions in the Harold S. Young field: the Buchanan (D-I), Dinuba (D-III) and Avenal (D-VI) boys and Buchanan (D-I), Madera South (D-II) and Strathmore (D-IV) girls
The 16-team girls field is led by reigning section champs in Buchanan (D-I), Madera South (D-II) and Strathmore (D-IV).
The bracket features the rest of last season’s D-I final four in runner-up Clovis North and semifinalists Central and Frontier, as well D-II semifinalist Madera and D-III semifinalist Independence.
“We’ll get a good eye on the other teams in the Valley,” Clovis North girls coach Nick Pappanduros said. “It’s good to play well, but more important to see where we’re at and what we need to build on.”
CENTRAL SECTION SOCCER RANKINGS
Records through Dec. 2
- 1. Buchanan (1-0-0)
- 2. Central (1-0-0)
- 3. Clovis North (0-0-1)
- 4. Bullard (0-0-1)
- 5. Reedley (2-0)
- 6. Golden Valley (1-0-1)
- 7. Liberty-Bakersfield (0-0-1)
- 8. Clovis (1-0-0)
- 9. Selma (0-1-0)
- 10. Independence (1-0-0)
- 1. Buchanan (1-0-0)
- 2. Clovis North (1-0-0)
- 3. Frontier (1-0-0)
- 4. Central (0-0-1)
- 5. Bullard (0-0)
- 6. Liberty-Bakersfield (0-0-1)
- 7. Clovis West (0-0-1)
- 8. Clovis East (1-0-0)
- 9. Edison (1-0-1)
- 10. Madera South (1-1-0)