COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The best youth soccer players across Georgia are in Columbus this weekend competing in a state championship.
The State Cup is going on at the Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex, and the players have one goal in mind.
More than 220 teams from Georgia, mostly metro Atlanta, are hoping to kick the ball to victory this weekend.
The players are from the Elite Teams, the governing body for soccer in the Peach State.
We spoke with a parent who calls the event the hallmark of any youth soccer team in the state.
"When we mark the calendar about how the season is going to go, this is as big as Christmas," said Darin Van Tassell. "It's as big as any major holiday to get here to play against best in state."
The players are between 13 and 19 years old, and they're hoping to advance to the final four in Statesboro.
Georgia Soccer Association President Susanne Conlon says this is the twelfth year the tournament has been held in Columbus at the Woodruff Farm Soccer Complex on Woodruff Farm Road.
"We love coming to Columbus," Conlon said. "They are wonderful hosts, great complex and the volunteers here are superb."
The players all aspire to compete at the collegiate level and one day get their kicks in pro ball.
The winners from the final four will advance to the regionals in Greenville, SC.
From there it's on to Dallas, TX for the national bragging rights. The tournament ends Sunday, May 29 in Columbus.