SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) For the fourth straight year, family, friends, and soccer players from around Chittenden Country converged for the annual Stefan Pierson Memorial Soccer Tournament. The tournament benefits Conquer the Day, the foundation the Pierson family formed in Stefan's honor, and it focuses on supporting Vermonters between the ages of 18 and 25 who have been diagnosed with cancer.
This year's beneficiary is Alex Blair, a BFA-Fairfax softball player whose story has been featured right here on Channel 3.
The event has grown rapidly in its short history, now with more than 40 teams in kids and adult divisions. The main event is the alumni tournament, which features former players from seven Chittenden County high schools going head to head to be crowned champions, This year, Rice became the latest school to field a team for the first time.
It's always an emotional day, but this year's tournament held special significance for family and friends, as it shifted from UVM to Stefan's old home turf at SBHS.
"Obviously it's very touching," said Stefan's mother Bernadette. "This is where Stefan played soccer, I have very, very fond memories of him and his teammates playing here so it's very wonderful. UVM was wonderful to us but it's touching, it's really very touching to see everything happening here where he played, and it's great."
"We played together for two years and its fun to be able to come back and actually kind of pass the torch," added Alex Judge, a 2009 South Burlington soccer alumnus. "We actually have a really young team this year, so not all the guys played on the same team (with Stefan). So to be able to kind of bring his spirit into the game and pass his torch along to kind of the younger generation is really cool."
Mount Mansfield ended up winning the alumni tournament, taking down Burlington in the final.