A little less than a year ago, just after the final game of the Third Annual Reston International Soccer Festival, organizers sat down to plan this year's festival.
It takes a full year and thousands of volunteer hours to organize the competition, which is to be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and is one of the largest such soccer events in Virginia.
"The director 'volunteers' a year ahead of time," laughs festival committee member Jim Falk, of Reston, who arranged the scheduling for the more than 100 teams competing this weekend. "Seriously, there's usually no trouble getting a director because he gets so much support."
There are two codirectors this year, Jim Gates and O.J. Burnside, both of Reston.
Gates agrees with Falk that the codirectors receive a lot of support, although he said "keeping my patience" was difficult at times. "You have to remember you're working with volunteers -- and the festival's not their first job priority. But everyone puts in a lot of evening hours that often creep into the work day."
As a result of their year's work, members of the festival committee have 124 teams and more than 2,000 players, ages 8 to 18, who will compete on 18 fields in Reston, Herndon, McLean and Fairfax.
Three teams are from Ireland, where they lead their divisions in the Dublin School Boys League. Other visiting teams are from Ontario, Quebec, Connecticut, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky and New York.
Last spring, the festival committee sent invitations to several hundred teams. The 124 teams in the festival were selected on the basis of their league records and performances in past festivals.
"We looked for teams that would provide balance in the festival," Gates said. "We don't only look for big winners. We try to get back some of the good teams who have played here before and teams that have exhibited good sportsmanship."
Teams must pay a $60 fee to cover field, referee and equipment costs. All the out of town teams are staying with residents who volunteered their homes as guest quarters.
The festival planners have set up a network of field coordinators to oversee conditions during games at each of the fields. If a problem develops, such as equipment difficulties or injuries, they can contact Herndon -- REACT, an emergency CB group whose members have volunteered their services for the festival.
A hospitality suite has been set up at the Dulles Marriott, where reservations have been made for families of visiting players. The suite, manned by volunteers from Reston, also will be a center where game scores, directions and general information will be provided.
Some college coaches are expected to do some scouting at the tournaments. Last year, about 35 coaches came to the festival, and three players later won college scholarships.
The only money-making activity at the festival will be concession sales, headed by Sheryl Nylund, of Reston, who said last year's profits were nearly $900.
"It took about 60 phone calls to get the volunteers lined up (this year)," Nylund said. "We'll have four stands and it will take about 40 working hours to run a booth over the four days. We'll use about 60 volunteers working in shifts."
Nylund says she has ordered 120 pounds of hot dogs and 2,600 pieces of candy, among other items to be sold at the games.
Two dances -- one for adults and one for teen-agers -- have been planned for festival participants.
When the whistle blows to end the final game of this year's tournament, each player will receive a souvenir patch. Then tired coordinators will begin planning next year's festival.