Gorge Challenge strikes positives in third year

HOOD RIVER — The results weren’t the same as last year, but the fun meter was on high throughout the weekend as the Hood River Dynamos hosted the third-annual Gorge Challenge youth soccer tournament July 13-14.

Only one local team, the U-12 boys Strikers, won its age bracket (compared to five winners in 2001), but it was a valuable experience for all who participated.

“The competition is getting better, and we’re attracting some much better teams,” Dynamos coordinator Jim Tedford said. “But it only helps our teams to play at that high level.”

Fifty teams from all over Oregon and as far away as Tri-Cities and Tacoma, Wash., made the trip to the Gorge and infused plenty of money into the economy and quality soccer to the area.

“We have two objectives for the tournament,” Tedford said. “First is to bring good competition to town, and second is to raise money for the club.”

He said the Dynamos raised nearly $6,000, some of which will be divied among the nine local teams that participated so they can pay for uniforms and tournament costs, and some which will go toward the Dynamos scholarship fund.

Plans are already in the works for the fourth Gorge Challenge, and by all indications, most of this year’s teams would like to return.

“We had a lot of compliments about our organization, the area, and the fields,” Tedford said. “Outside of the Nike Campus, these may be the best fields in the state.”

Tedford credited local groundskeeper Mark Brindle for his tireless work to get the fields ready for the tournament, and thanked everyone who volunteered to make the Gorge Challenge a success.

“Overall, it went really well,” he said. “You’re not going to make everyone happy, but after doing this for a couple years, we’re only getting better.”

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Local team results

Hood River Dynamos girls

U-11 Rockets, 3rd place

U-11 The Dalles, 4th place

U-13 (silver) Stars, 6th place

U-13 (gold) Explosion, 4th place

U-14 United, 4th place

Hood River Dynamos boys

U-11 Amigos, 4th place

U-12 Strikers, 1st place

U-13 Pumas, 2nd place

U-14 Blizzard, 6th place

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