184 soccer teams descend on Hickman High for Show-Me State Games

Saturday, November 23, 2013 | 6:45 p.m. CST
Evan Bryant-Wimp, 10, referees a 3-on-3 game between Columbia's Tamashi Futbol Club and JC Crew Brazil. The game took place at the Hickman High School football field during the Show-Me State Games SoccerFest tournament. Columbia's team won the game 7-2.

COLUMBIA — The soccer ball rolled out of bounds. Evan Bryant-Wimp, wearing a gold jersey amid red and green players, took his referee whistle out of his mouth to make the call.

"Green ball!" he said.

The soccer players reset. Player No. 5 from the green team kicked the ball back into play.

"How much time is left?" 10-year-0ld Evan asked his dad, Jay Bryant-Wimp, who was keeping time on the sideline.

Bryant-Wimp, on the assist, checked his iPhone. There were seven minutes left in the game.

The young referee officiated the 9-and-under 3-on-3 soccer game, called a 3v3 game, at the Show-Me State Games SoccerFest tournament at Hickman High School on Saturday.

The tournament hosted 184 teams on the school's football field, said David Fox, associate director of the games.

"The fun thing about it is all the fields are at the same location," Fox said. "It's active and fast-paced."

Players swarmed the football field, playing rapid games on 10 20-by-35-yard fields. Parents and players surrounded the field, wrapped in blankets watching the 3-on-3 games. They yelled words of encouragement to the players from the sidelines.

"Hustle up!" one parent said.

After the ball dribbled out of bounds, one of the players in green yelled to his teammates, "Guys, wake up!"

Mostly youth players filled the fields Saturday, but 10 teams entered in the tournament had players older than 18.

The green team playing while Evan refereed was a 9-and-under, or U9, team from Columbia's Tamashi Futbol Club. It was one of two U9 teams entered in the tournament from the club.

"They all grew up playing together since they were little bitty," said Danny Wells, a parent of one of the team's players.

The game was Evan's second match to referee Saturday morning.

"He loves to do it, and he definitely understands it," Evan's dad said.

Evan is paid $8 for each game he works. He went through two days of training to become a referee, and he and two of his friends were the youngest trainees.

"He starts to pull red cards out at home on a violation of whatever he thinks the rules are," Bryant-Wimp said. "Like vegetables."

Evan blew his whistle three times to signal the end of the game. Columbia's team won the 10 a.m. game against a JC Crew Brazil team from Jefferson City with a final score of 7-2. It is likely the team will advance to the final rounds Sunday.

Parents huddled in blankets on the sideline were glad to escape the 21-degree weather until the next round of games, they said.

"Hot chocolate never sounded so good," Wells said.

The SoccerFest tournament will continue at Hickman High School through Sunday. Admission is $5.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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