VanDenBerg Invitational returns after year’s absence

NILES — Following a year off due to COVID-19, the VanDenBerg Invitational returns Aug. 21 to help kick off the high school boys soccer season.

The tournament was scheduled to open the 2020 fall sports season, but due to COVID-19 guidelines, the tournament had to be postponed as the Michigan High School Athletic Association delayed the start of sports.

Currently, there are no plans by the MHSAA or the Michigan Department of Health and Services to delay fall sports. High school teams will begin practice Aug. 9, with the first competition for several sports, including soccer, to begin the week of Aug. 16.

The VanDenBerg Invitational features host Niles and Brandywine taking on Cassopolis and Buchanan. Semifinal games will be at both Niles and Brandywine high schools, with the championship game scheduled to be played at Niles and the consolation match at Brandywine.

The Vikings will host the Rangers at 10 a.m., while the Bobcats will host the Bucks at 10 a.m.

Both the championship and consolation matches are scheduled to begin at noon.

Each match will have two 30-minute halves. In the event of a tie, a shootout will decide the winner.

Admission is $5 per person. No passes will be accepted. Niles is using digital ticketing, which includes an extra fee for tickets sold. Tickets may be purchased at nilesathletics.com/niles-athletic-online-ticket-ordering.

Brandywine will be selling cash tickets for the first match.

Depending on Michigan state of emergency venue numbers, concessions may be open.

In 2019, when the tournament was last contested, Niles won its 10th consecutive VanDenBerg championship with a 2-0 win over Cassopolis in the finals.

The Vikings defeated Buchanan 8-0 in the semifinals, while the Rangers blanked Brandywine 6-0.

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