NJCAA Soccer Tournament to be Community Affair
Free admission for area youth soccer players


West Windsor, N.J. -- The 600 youngsters playing soccer and other sports at MCCC's Sports Camps this summer reflect the athleticism and enthusiasm that will be on display at the college level when Mercer hosts the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Men’s Soccer Championship from November 18-22, 2009.

The national tournament is returning to the MCCC Soccer Complex for the first time since 1999 and the College expects to attract thousands of fans, with a special focus on youngsters. MCCC will offer free admission to children 12 and under who wear their youth soccer team jerseys to the event. Admission for all other children 12 and under is $3 per day.

"We anticipate that the tournament will be a family affair," MCCC Athletics Director John Simone said. "We want youngsters to come out with their families to enjoy championship level soccer and to feel the excitement surrounding Mercer's college soccer program.” Fans at the Nov. 22 final will see the crowning of a national champion from the eight teams that will participate from across the country.

“The coaches and kids can learn a lot from watching high level soccer and it will be a fun atmosphere,” added Ryan Zegarski, MCCC assistant athletics director and the tournament's director.

Having children attend tournament games is part of the athletics department’s emphasis during the 2009-10 school year to expose young people to MCCC athletics, including clinics with some of the Vikings teams. In addition to summer camps, MCCC runs a winter indoor soccer league for hundreds of area teams each year.

The November 22 championship game caps a national tournament that kicks off Wednesday, November 18 – the evening prior to the first game – with a banquet for the teams and a T-shirt exchange, as well as induction ceremonies for the 2009 NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame class.

MCCC’s highly successful men’s soccer program hopes to be one of the eight teams to reach the national tournament. Coach Charlie Inverso has taken his last eight squads to the nationals and won five of the program’s eight national titles during his 23 seasons.

Youngsters learn valulable skills in MCCC's summer Soccer Camps. MCCC invites youth soccer players (with jersey) to attend the tournament free of charge.
MCCC Head Coach Charlie Inverso, left, and Assistant Coach Larry Povia will welcome fans to the MCCC Soccer Complex for the NJCAA national tournament.

His 2008 squad finished 19-3 and third at the national tournament. This year’s squad, which must win Region 19 and Northeast District titles to qualify for the national tournament, features 2008 NJCAA All-American Amit Abudmad.

“I think that area soccer aficionados are anxious to come back and watch some very high level soccer locally,” Simone said. “There was a group of people who came for all the years we hosted the tournament. I think they’re happy that it's back after a 10-year absence. It’s a great thing for the community.”

A tournament pass for all 11 games is available for $30. General admission tickets cost $12 per day and are good for all games that day. Students who have a valid high school or college ID and seniors ages 62 and up pay only $25 for a tournament pass or $10 for a daily general admission ticket.

Tournament sponsors include NJCAA Region 19; the Garden State Athletic Conference; the Trenton Marriott, which has been selected to house the visiting teams; Stout's Charter Service, which will provide transportation; and Baden Sports. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, call (609) 570-3740.

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