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By DANNY P. SMITH
Youth soccer teams from all over the state will be springing into action today at the Starkville Sportsplex.
The 2011 Spring Shootout kicks off at 8 a.m. and continues through Sunday and with good weather being in the forecast, Starkville Soccer Association president Stephen Bock expects a nice event.
"The fields look great and it looks like we're going to have pretty weather," Bock said. "Everything is coming together so I think it's going to be a good one."
The field has 8-under through 14-under teams mostly from South Mississippi with Hattiesburg traveling the greatest distance.
There's not as much participation and Bock points to several factors as the cause.
"We're sitting on roughly 40 teams and in the past, it's been around 73 teams," Bock said. "Baseball has taken up 10 of those teams and there's a Gulfport tournament taking up another nine teams that I found out about, then there's (Mississippi State's) graduation that took away a couple of teams because they couldn't find rooms."
Also, some of the teams attending the tournament may have connection with someone who had damage or may know someone who may have been injured from the recent severe weather of the past week.
Bock realizes the tournament can provide a small diversion for anyone who is picking up the pieces following the storm.
"It can be a little bit of light in the aftermath of disaster," Bock said.