When Beau Chene boys soccer coach Chad Vidrine dreamed up the concept of the Copa Acadiana Soccer Tournament, he had an idea that it could grow… perhaps even quite a bit.
It started with 16 teams and then got to 24 and then 32 and then 40.
Now we’re up to the eight one in 2015 and that grand total is up to 64 teams for this weekend’s event being held on fields 18-27 at Moore Park. That makes it the largest tournament in the history of Louisiana high school soccer.
“And we have a waiting list of 16 more boys teams and four more girls teams,” Vidrine said. “It’s a gimmick that caught on and just keeps growing.”
The unique aspect of this tournament is that it excludes all Division I teams.
“You have a bunch of teams in the same boat,” Vidrine said. “Elite Division I teams like Lafayette High and Acadiana could have two 11-man teams. Other teams just don’t have that kind of depth. These are all playoff teams or teams real close to making the playoffs from Division II and III, just not any of those really deep Division I teams.”
The field does include two defending state champions in St. Louis and Vandebilt Catholic.
As the tournament has grown, the toughest part becomes scheduling.
“We used to try to accommodate as many teams as we could, but we got to the point where the only thing we could guarantee is that you won’t be in the same group as a team from your district,” Vidrine said. “It just got impossible to accommodate everyone.”
For instance, University High and Vandebilt Catholic were scheduled to play this past Tuesday and are both in Group C in the Boys Premier Division.
“Fortunately, it got rained out,” Vidrine said. “But really what the coaches are telling me is to just focus on seeding the tournament properly, so we have well-balanced groups.”
The 64-team field includes four four-team boys premier groups, three four-team boys orange division, two three-team boys gray division groups, four four-team girls premier division groups and two four-team girls bronze division groups.
Most teams request their divisions, but some are asked to adjust to even the groups out.
Northlake Christian is the two-time Copa Acadiana champions and made the finals three years ago.
Vidrine’s Gators, currently ranked No. 1 in the Division II state coaches poll, has only reached the semifinal round once in seven previous tries.
“It’s kind of strange,” Vidrine said. “Usually every year, we win at least one tournament, but we’ve never done really well in our own tournament. Maybe it has something to do with me being so distracted because of running the tournament, I don’t know. We’ve got three assistant coaches this year, so that should help.”
The Gators are only 1-0-1 on the young season, which has been dominated with weather postponements throughout the year so far.
“At times in the past, teams have already played eight or nine games by now and this was a tournament where teams really starting clicking,” Vidrine said. “A lot of teams have only played two or three games, so they may be a little rusty.”
Teams advance out of group play using FIFA rules of three points for a win and one for a tie. All tiebreaker rules are based off FIFA play as well.
The tournament also added Thursday games last year to accommodate schools with football teams in the semifinals or finals on Fridays.
2015 Copa Acadiana Soccer Tournament
(All games at Fields 18-27 at Moore Park)
BOYS PREMIER DIVISION
Group A — Beau Chene, East Jefferson, Bolton, Tioga.
Group B — Northlake Christian, E.D. White, Teurlings, St. Michael.
Group C — Vandebilt, University High, Holy Cross, Carencro
Group D —St. Louis, St. Thomas More, Lakeshore, vs. Alexandria
BOYS ORANGE DIVISION
Group E — Leesville, Parkview Baptist, Haynes, Rapides.
Group F — Neville, North Vermilion, Opelousas Catholic, Morgan City.
Group G — Catholic-NI, Episcopal, Lutcher, Glenmora
BOYS GRAY DIVISION
Group H — ESA, Loyola, Terrebonne.
Group I — Menard, Pope John Paul, Opelousas.
GIRLS PREMIER DIVISION
Group A — St. Thomas More, Episcopal, St. Louis, Northlake Christian.
Group B — Loyola, Lakeshore, Teurlings, University High.
GIRLS SILVER DIVISION
Group C — Carencro, Leesville, Runnels, Bolton.
Group D — Catholic-NI, Terrebonne, Alexandria, DeRidder.
GIRLS BRONZE DIVISION
Group E — Beau Chene, Morgan City, Grace Christian, St. Martinville.
Group F — Menard, Sam Houston, Westgate, Opelousas.
STM ?, St. Louis (G)
Carencro ?, University ? (B)
Teurlings ? University ? (G)
Beau Chene ?, Grace Christian (G)
Parkview Baptist ?, Rapides ? (B)
St. Louis ?, St. Thomas More ? (B)
Bolton ?, Beau Chene ? (B)
Carencro ?, Bolton ? (G)
Catholic-NI ?, Lutcher ? (B)
North Vermilion ?, Opelousas Catholic ? (B)
(3:30 p.m. games)
St. Martinville vs. Menard (B)
Opelousas Catholic vs. Morgan City (B)
Neville vs. North Vermilion (B)
Carencro vs. Leesville (G)
Sam Houston vs. Menard (G)
Carencro vs. Vandebilt Catholic (B)
(4:45 p.m. games)
East Jefferson vs. Bolton (B)
Beau Chene vs. Morgan City (G)
Runnels vs. Bolton (G)
Tioga vs. Beau Chene (B)
Westminster vs. Runnels (B)
(6 p.m. games)
ESA vs. Terrebonne (B)
Terrebonne vs. Alexandria (G)
Catholic-NI vs. DeRidder (G)
Haynes vs. Leesville (B)
Opelousas vs. Pope John Paul (B)
(7:15 p.m. games)
Opelousas vs. Westgate (G)
Lakeshore vs. Alexandria (B)
St. Martinville vs. Grace Christian (G)
Teurlings vs. Northlake Christian (B)
Episcopal vs. Glenmora (B)
Dunham vs. Loyola (B)
(8:30 p.m. games)
Teurlings vs. Loyola (G)
(7:30 a.m. games)
Morgan City vs. St. Martinville (G)
Opelousas vs. Sam Houston (G)
Menard vs. Westgate (G)
Catholic-NI vs. Terrebonne (G)
Alexandria vs. DeRidder (G)
Leesville vs. Runnels (G)
(8:45 a.m. games)
ESA vs. Dunham (B)
St. Thomas More vs. Northlake Christian (G)
Episcopal vs. St. Louis (G)
Loyola vs. Lakeshore (G)
St. Martinville vs. Opelousas (B)
Pope John Paul vs. Menard (B)
Westminster vs. De La Salle (B)
Ouachita vs. Runnels (B)
Loyola vs. Terrebonne (B)
(10 a.m. games)
Parkview Baptist vs. Haynes (B)
Leesville vs. Rapides (B)
Morgan City vs. Neville (B)
Glenmora vs. Lutcher (B)
Catholic-NI vs. Episcopal (B)
(11:15 a.m. games)
E.D. White vs. Teurlings (B)
St. Louis vs. Lakeshore (B)
Alexandria vs. St. Thomas More (B)
Vandebilt vs. Holy Cross (B)
Tioga vs. East Jefferson (B)
Northlake Christian vs. St. Michael (B)
(12:30 p.m. games)
St. Martinville vs. Beau Chene (G)
Grace Christian vs. Morgan City (G)
Menard vs. Opelousas (G)
Westgate vs. Sam Houston (G)
Alexandria vs. Catholic-NI (G)
DeRidder vs. Terrebonne (G)
Runnels vs. Carencro (G)
Bolton vs. Leesville (G)
(1:45 p.m. games)
Loyola vs. ESA (B)
Menard vs. Opelousas (B)
Ouachita vs. Westminster (B)
Runnels vs. DeLaSalle (B)
Terrebonne vs. Dunham (B)
(3 p.m. games)
Leesville vs. Parkview Baptist (B)
Rapides vs. Haynes (B)
Neville vs. Opelousas Catholic (B)
North Vermilion vs. Morgan City (B)
Glenmora vs. Catholic-NI (B)
Lutcher vs. Episcopal (B)
GIRLS BRONZE FINAL — 3 p.m.
GIRLS SILVER FINAL — 3:30 p.m.
(4:15 p.m. games)
Northlake Christian vs. E.D. White (B)
Alexandria vs. St. Louis (B)
St. Thomas More vs. Lakeshore (B)
East Jefferson vs. Beau Chene (B)
Bolton vs. Tioga (B)
Holy Cross vs. Carencro (B)
University vs. Vandebilt (B)
St. Michael vs. Teurlings (B)
BOYS GRAY SEMIFINALS — 5:30 p.m. (No. 1 vs. Wild card; No. 2 vs. No. 3)
GIRLS PREMIER FINALS — 5:30 p.m. (Group winners)
BOYS ORANGE SEMIFINALS — 5:45 p.m. (No. 1 vs. Wild card; No. 2 vs. No. 3)
BOYS PREMIER SEMIFINALS — 6:45 p.m. (No. 1 vs. Wild card; No. 2 vs. No. 3).
BOYS GRAY FINALS — 7:30 p.m. (semifinal winners).
BOYS ORANGE FINALS — 7:45 p.m. (semifinal winners).
BOYS PREMIER FINALS — 8:30 p.m. (semifinal winners).