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31st Fort Lowell Shootout underway after pageantry of opening ceremonies


After a cancellation last year because of COVID-19, the Tucson Association of Realtors Fort Lowell Shootout opening ceremony was kicking Friday night with more than 300 youth soccer teams taking to the field for a procession at Kino Stadium.

Teams mostly from Arizona and the neighboring states and Mexico are part of this year’s event, the 31st in the history of the tournament.

The inaugural Fort Lowell Shootout was in February 1991 under the direction of founder Bill Viner with 112 boys and girls teams entered.

Approximately 40,000 youths of the more than 300 teams of competitors 7 to 19 years old will compete Saturday and Sunday at the Kino Sports Complex.

The opening ceremonies included the mariachi group from Hollinger Middle School performing a few songs before Sabino High School senior Amarae Hobbs sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

The Pima’s men’s and women’s soccer teams that each played in a national championship match this season were then honored. The women, comprised completely of players from Southern Arizona, reached the title match for the first time in program history, and the men earned the second national championship in program history.

Pima men’s coach Dave Cosgrove, also the director of the FC Tucson Youth Soccer program, was on hand, as was Pima’s women’s coach Kendra Veliz.

Then came the presentation of the Founders Award received by Lisa Fraser on behalf of her late husband Bruce Caris, a co-founder of the FC Tucson Youth Soccer Program. Fraser is the first soccer coach in University of Arizona history who was one of the founders of the Tucson Soccer Academy in 2000.

The Matt McManaman Volunteer Award was presented to Salpointe Catholic girls soccer coach Kelly Pierce, who coached the FC Tucson women’s team to a conference championship last season.

The night ended with a soccer olympics invovling U8 to U10 teams at the adjacent Kino Sports Complex fields.

Here are some social media posts by myself and my brother Andy in relation to the opening ceremony on Friday night:

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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