PITTSFIELD -- As four Berkshire County high schools gathered at the BCC soccer field for the annual jamboree, players on those eight teams in attendance on Friday knew it was time to get the season going.
"The season always starts with the jamboree. It's a great start to the Berkshire County league, and everyone's always pumped up for it," said Pittsfield midfielder Jackson Rich.
The boys and girls teams from Pittsfield, Taconic, Lenox and St. Joseph -- along with the boys team from O'Bryant High School in Boston -- took turns playing 30-minute games before family and friends. It was the official kickoff for soccer in Pittsfield, as the Berkshire County Kickoff Classic youth tournament rolls into high gear later today.
"Yeah, definitely. I'm excited about" the season, Lenox junior midfielder Alessandra Arace said. "I think we're going to be decent this year."
The festivities began when the Lenox boys played St. Joseph, followed by the Lenox-St. Joe girls. The Friday games concluded with the Pittsfield and Taconic boys. The Lenox girls played St. Joe before taking a one-game break and taking the pitch against the Lady Generals.
"You have to not waste your energy in one game," said Arace, who scored four goals against St. Joe. "You have to pace yourself I guess, so you don't burn out."
St. Joseph boys goalie Shaun Parzick was the first keeper on the pitch. He was very happy to be playing just three days before the start of the 2014 season, and said that it feels like its time to get the season going.
"Yes it does, in every way," said the Crusader keeper. "There's soccer on the field right now. It feels good."
Along with the eight county teams at BCC, the O'Bryant boys made the trip out from the Roxbury section of Boston to participate in the Friday jamboree. The Bulldogs will scrimmage Pittsfield today.
"Last year, [Pittsfield athletic director Jim Abel] arranged a trip for their soccer team to come out and play us," O'Bryant head coach Ian Dorian said. "They did a whole weekend where they did a little bit of college visits. They went over to Harvard and they played us in a night game.
"Afterward, we had a meal together and developed some good camaraderie. When they invited us to come out and be a part of this jamboree, we jumped on the opportunity."
For the county teams, it was an opportunity to get some final playing time against foes before the season kicks of in earnest next week.
"We've been preparing for West Springfield for a while now," said Trinity Cookis of the Pittsfield girls. "Now the games are starting to happen.
"The jamboree is for the people in the county, and they're the most fun to play."
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