Family friendly event will feature soccer competition

The fifth annual Sweitzer Cup will also raise money for charity

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If you go

What: Fifth annual Sweitzer Cup
Where: Myron Urbanski Memorial Park, Craigville Road, Goshen
When: Saturday, Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

By Geri Corey

Twelve teams from around the area will compete in the fifth annual Sweitzer Cup on Saturday, Aug. 2.

“There’ll be plenty to do for everyone,” said Rory Brady, one of the organizers of the family fun event. For starters, he listed inflatables for the children, Zumba classes, yoga — hosted by Happy Buddha Yoga, and Crossfit by Studio Ayo. Food, supplied by event sponsor Delancy’s Restaurant, will be available for purchase, with all proceeds donated to the foundation.

But, wait, there’s more. Highlighting the day is soccer, soccer, and more soccer. Tournament games will be going on the entire day.

The focus of the affair is the Charity Alumni Soccer Tournament that began in 2010 and has been growing in numbers over since. In the beginning there were 8 soccer alumni teams competing for the top position to win the Sweitzer Cup; now entering the fifth year, there are 12 teams, including Vernon, NJ — the first ever team from outside Orange County and New York State.

Other participating schools include Goshen, Burke Catholic, Washingtonville, Monroe-Woodbury, Minisink, Warwick, Pine Bush, Middletown and Cornwall, and two teams from Valley Central.

The Sweitzer Cup was created out of love, compassion and camaraderie, combined with a passion for the sport.

In 1996 during his senior year at Burke Catholic High School, Timothy J. Sweitzer, a star soccer player, who was anticipating entering Johns Hopkins University in the fall, was tragically killed in a car accident. In the years that followed a high school scholarship was presented in his name; however, eventually the scholarship fund dried up, and it stopped being presented.

In 2009, old friends gathered for a memorial poker tournament to celebrate Sweitzer’s life and raise money to beautify his cemetery plot.

Said Brady, “Over the course of the poker tournament, former teammates began to reminisce about the glory days on the pitch and it wasn’t long before teams from Tim’s high school and their rival, Goshen, were lacing up their cleats to settle the score one last time.”

This was the start of the Charity Alumni Soccer Tournament and competitors vying to win the Sweitzer Cup.

“The goal of the Sweitzer Cup and the affiliate charity, the Timothy J. Sweitzer Memorial Foundation, has always been two-fold: first, to memorialize Tim, to ensure that his legacy, one of competitive spirit and camaraderie, of excellence both on and off the field is eternalized. Second, our goal has been to give back to the community that gave so much to us and to Tim,” Brady explained.

In coming years, Brady and other event organizers have a vision of building a topflight soccer field and eventually an entire complex in the Hudson Valley bearing Tim’s name, allowing children of all backgrounds to learn leadership and teamwork skills.

“It’s going to be a great day in Goshen,” said Brady, adding, “Burke and Goshen have a long-standing rivalry and now they have the chance to play again.”

Brady noted the astonishing number of family members taking part in the event — including 16 sets of brothers and two father/son pairings.

Of particular interest to Brady is the opportunity for he and Burke teammate Chris LaGarde to take on older brothers, Damian Brady and Jim LaGarde, who will be suiting up for Goshen.

“We both grew up watching our older brothers, who played in club soccer and Goshen High School. In the 2012 Cup, my brother made a game saving play. I was disappointed because it prevented a Burke victory, but as his brother, I was proud of the effort,” Brady commented. “Soccer is a family affair. That’s what the Sweitzer Cup is about, family. Tim was like family to so many of us.”

“At the end of the day, it’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of this event,” said Jim LaGarde, event organizer and owner of Primo Sports in Florida. “The reason for the tournament is unfortunate, with the death of Tim Sweitzer, but it’s an honor to carry on his name with the Sweitzer Cup. While we were growing up, soccer was an international game that Rory’s dad introduced us to. We made it our love and passion,” said Jim LaGarde.

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