A pair of Rim country youth soccer teams are set to travel to Phoenix this week where they'll take on the best competition the state has to offer in Arizona's version of the Olympics.
According to Payson All Star boys' coach Luis Albaracin, both local teams which will compete in the 12-years-and-under division at the Grand Canyon State Games comprise standout players chosen by coaches at the conclusion of this spring's town-sponsored youth league.
Leading the Payson All-Star girls' teams into the GC games will be the husband-and-wife coaching team of Roger and Kim Wholly.
Both teams have been practicing twice weekly at Rumsey Park in preparation for the games.
The coaches say their teams will play Friday morning at Red Mountain Park in Mesa following the games' opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bank One Ballpark.
Spectator tickets to the opening ceremonies are $7 for adults and $5 for youths 12-years-and-younger. On the day of the event, the prices will be increased by $1. To purchase tickets, call Bank One Ballpark at (888) 334-8323.
On hand to lead the opening ceremonies will be the GC Games' two executive commissioners Tom Gugliotta of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez.
According to "Gonzo's Ground Rules" of the GC games, those who donate a new book (for students K-8) at the opening ceremonies will receive an Arizona Diamondbacks' gift.
For those wishing to compete in the games, officials say registration is still open. Entry form brochures are available at Circle K locations.
Also, call 480-515-9700 for information or visit the games' Web site at www.gcsg.org.
Sponsors of the local teams include Red Mountain Family Medicine, Kiwanis, Strawberry Lodge, Willie and Mary Bennett, Wayne Johnson of Strawberry Auto Service, Mary Kellums, Kevin and Cindy Sokol, Son Construction and Strawberry Market.