ST. CLOUD -- Young athletes from all over the state will be competing in central Minnesota this weekend. St. Cloud Area Youth Soccer is holding their annual Star of the North Kick the Rust Off pre-season soccer tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

Around 80 soccer teams with boys and girls ranging in age from eight to 15 will play on artificial turf at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict.

Emily Willaert is the director of coaching for the Central Minnesota Youth Soccer Association. She says the tournament gives players a chance to get ready for the upcoming season.

Being able to get out before the first league game and see those new field sizes and new player numbers on the field is a great advantage for both our teams and those that are coming into the community to have a tournament. It really gives them the opportunity to try a couple different formations or different player positionings and really hit the ground running once they start their league play.

Soccer season for youth soccer in Minnesota gets underway in early May.

The CMYSA anticipates around 1,300 players and 4,000 coaches and spectators to come to the area for the event.