After nine years on the youth soccer scene, the Terry Wilson Memorial Cup remains one of the sporting highlights of the year for kids who attend Catholic elementary schools.
The one-day tournament on Friday at Rotary Soccer Field will pay tribute to Wilson and his efforts to promote youth soccer and education following his arrival in Prince George from Northern Ireland in 1986.
Eighteen teams of mixed-gender Grade 6 and 7 students from 10 schools, including three Prince George schools -- Sacred Heart, St. Mary's, Immaculate Conception - will gather on the field Friday.
"It's all about the community and the support the community provides," said tournament organizer Terry Murphy. "We have made great connections over the years with many people. For example our referees, our sponsors, the media, the Citizen, PGYSA, City of Prince George, our teams have stayed consistent."
Each seven-player team is guaranteed six games of 10 minutes each, with the top teams advancing to the playoff round. Games will start at 8:30 a.m. and the tournament will wrap up by 3:30 p.m.
The St. Ann's Academy Crusaders, the 2018 champions from Kamloops, won't be back to defend the title due to a scheduling conflict but Murphy says they have assured him they will be back for the 10th annual tournament next year.
"We really want to emphasize that this is all about team participation and having fun, because that's what Terry would have wanted," added Murphy. "His family back in Northern Ireland and in Canada is delighted and honoured about this tournament."
The inaugural tournament was held in 2011, a year after Wilson died of brain cancer on June 19, 2010 at age 47. Wilson was known an innovative rep team coach during the time he coached his sons in the Prince George Youth Soccer Association and he went to achieve his national B-level coaching certification. He worked as the phys-ed teacher at St. Mary's school, a job he held from 1986-91, then served as the principal at St. Anne's school in Quesnel and at Sacred Heart school in Prince George until 2002, when he and his family moved to Picture Butte, Alta.