Boys Varsity Soccer · DNJ Story: Soccer tournament to include seniors whose seasons were cut short from nearly 50 teams across state

Aaron Torres, Knoxville News Sentinel.  Published 5:00 a.m. CT June 22, 2020

In March, as school systems shut down because of COVID-19, Gatlinburg-Pittman’s Zach Schrandt started contacting other soccer coaches across the state.

Schrandt, who is a board member on the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches Association, thought the rest of the season was at risk to be canceled. So the coaches talked about putting together a tournament at some point in the summer.

Next month the THSSCA 2020 State Championships presented by The High School Cup will take place at Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg.

 The public school tournament is scheduled for July 9-11 and the private school tournament is July 13-15. Each team will be allowed to bring 50 fans to each game. There also will be markers to indicate social distancing.

The tournaments are split up into the same classifications as the TSSAA. Each public school bracket has eight teams. Each team will play three games as the tournament has a winners bracket and losers bracket.

Forty-eight teams are planning to participate, Schrandt said.

“I think we’re all pleasantly surprised at the amount of participation,” Schrandt said. “I think it’s going to be a fun three days.”

The tournament gives seniors who graduated this year, but whose season was ended prematurely, one more chance to play.

“Obviously it’s not an official state championship. You can call it what you want to call it, but it gives guys the opportunity to go out on their own terms,” said Smyrna coach Bryan Grogan. “They know they have three games. They know it’s something that was not pulled out beneath them. They know what’s ahead of them and the opportunity to compete against the elite teams of the state.”

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