BROADALBIN - The Fulton County Cup started out as a showcase for the local boys high school soccer teams, but it grew into a Labor Day Weekend tradition.
That tradition will end.
With scheduling conflicts at the root of the cause, the Fulton County Cup, now known as the Fulton County Stop DWI Cup, will not be contested this year.
The Broadalbin-Perth boys soccer team poses with its trophy after winning the Fulton County Stop DWI Cup on Sept. 3, 2012, with a 6-0 win over Amsterdam. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"When we were setting up the schedules, there were some changes," Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry said. "Mechanicville opted to join Stillwater for a tournament, which is closer to them and I don't blame them. We invited the WAC [Western Athletic Conference] teams, but they switched to a 16-game all-league schedule. We decided to put it out to all of Section II and we had a number of phone calls, but we did not get the teams until after we decided to forego the tournament."
After Broadalbin-Perth's 16-game schedule was complete, a change happened that had Henry contemplating bringing the tournament back.
"Granville out of the Wasaren League decided not to field a varsity squad this year," Henry said. "We got phone calls after the fact from some of the Wasaren teams to join the Fulton County Cup, but it was too little too late because we had already filled our schedule with a pair of nice non-league games with Schuylerville and Coxsackie-Athens."
The season-opening, two-day tournament began in the early 1990s with Johnstown and Gloversville rotating game sites and were the regular host teams. Broadalbin-Perth, Mayfield and Northville rotated in with the fourth-place finisher normally sitting out the next year.
"We got the idea in the early 1990s," retired Gloversville soccer coach Jim Flint said. "We had some really strong soccer teams in Fulton County with Gloversville, Johnstown, Northville, Mayfield and Broadalbin-Perth. We thought it would be a good way to promote soccer to people. It was a tough tournament. We often had sectional-quality games right at the beginning of the season. Everybody wanted to start their season off with that victory."
The tournament was a success and expanded to eight teams and divided into two divisions, Mountain and Lake, and opened up to teams outside the area.
"There was always the chance we [Gloversville, Johnstown and Broadalbin-Perth] would be facing each other three or four times during the season with league play and, depending on classification, again in sectionals," Henry said. "So we split the tournament into two divisions. Northville, Fonda-Fultonville and us rotated hosting for a while until we got the turf field and kept it here."
Scheduling forced teams to drop some non-league games as, in a cost cutting move for struggling school districts, the New York State Public?High?School?Athletic Association and Section II cut the season from 18 to 16 games.
"I really enjoyed the 18-game schedule and obviously it changed the way we did our scheduling," Henry said.
The tournament was cut back to one division with Gloversville dropping its Mountain Division of the tournament, however, Broadalbin-Perth opted to keep the Lakes Division going.
"We felt it is a nice way to start the season for the teams," Henry said. "We also got some help from Dave Wiltey and the Fulton County Stop DWI program and the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. They believed, and so did we, that the tournament was a great way to get the word out and promote Stop DWI."
However, the tradition will be lost for at least this season.
"Yes, we are disappointed, but our goal is to get it up and running again for next year," Henry said. "This is the first time in 12 years as a coach I will have Labor Day off."