LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The Defender Cup's tournament commissioners gave the largest military soccer event a tuneup in anticipation of this year's competition.
For starters, Randolph Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston will join Lackland as Defender Cup hosts Sept. 4-6.
"The real objective was to make (the tournament) more inclusive since all the installations have participated in past events," Commissioner Stewart Hess said. "We just wanted to follow along those lines, and increase the visibility of the tournament."
Hess is working with vice commissioners James Colvin of Randolph and Ricky Mitchell of Fort Sam Houston to coordinate among the three installations.
The event has also been relocated to the STAR Soccer Complex, which boasts 13 full-size playing fields.
Hess said he's "very excited" about the new tournament home, adding that the venue offers spectators a restaurant, playground and free parking.
"It's a wonderful opportunity."
Two soccer fields located on base are unavailable due to construction of the Airman Training Complexes. Hess said the move to STAR would ensure enough playing fields for the anticipated 20 military teams, and that all the soccer games are played in one place.
The commissioners also agree STAR's field conditions are better equipped to handle rain, which plagued last year's play at the League Executive San Antonio soccer fields.
With the tournament bumped up to Labor Day weekend from its usual date in October, Hess encourages fans to come out, bring a lawn chair and just enjoy the holiday.
Each team will play three games in group play starting Sept. 4, followed by team seeding and single-elimination bracket play Sept. 5.
The Defender Cup championship is Sept. 6, 3 p.m., at Lackland's Warhawk Field.