As summer draws to a close and my girls are already back in school, I thought it would be a good time to recap some of our adventures. Although my girls didn’t play in as many summer tournaments as years past, there was some significant travel involved. Above all, we had so much fun spending time together and with awesome teammates and friends. Here are some of the highlights…
LEGENDS COLLEGE SHOWCASE | June 3/4 | Silverlakes Soccer Complex, Norco, CA
Although my girls had a few days left of school, I considered this the first tournament of the summer. Silverlakes is an amazing venue, but so hot, especially for us coast dwellers. It seemed like many teams were trying out new players or were playing with very few subs. Since it was a showcase, there was one game per day and the fields were in nice condition. Legends always does a nice job with their tournaments and everything seemed organized and well planned. We didn’t see a ton of college coaches, but I heard there were more at the older girls’ games.
ECNL Playoffs/Showcase | June 22-27 | Chicago, IL
LSG made a crazy transition from a school trip to Costa Rica to flying out to Chicago on the same day she returned to play in the ECNL Playoffs. Although on paper it seemed almost like an impossible thing to do, all the stars aligned and we made to Chicago on time for her first game early the next morning. The ECNL always does an amazing job with their showcases and this one was no exception. Everything was beautifully organized at the Mercy Sportscare Fields with all the great signage etc… although the fields had really long, thick grass. We got caught on the field in a crazy micro storm one evening where all you could do is run to the car! (Well, the girls ran straight to the car and probably had to wait about 5 minutes in the pouring rain for us moms to catch up!)
There are three divisions at this event- the Championship Division, North American Cup and the Showcase Cup. There were many, many college coaches who of course were mainly at the Championship division games, but I saw them throughout the giant complex watching multiple games.
Chicago is a beautiful city and we really enjoyed our day off and spent it walking around the city and the riverfront. This trip was especially fun because we had a group of mothers and daughters which made for some special memories.
Surf Cup | July 28- August 1 | Oceanside, CA (San Diego)
Surf Cup is always one of my favorite tournaments of the year! It’s changed SO much since we first attended four years ago…there were very few teams per age group and the whole event was held in Del Mar. With the option of the huge Oceanside So Cal Complex, Surf Cup is now huge! What hasn’t changed is the special touches such as the tents, gear, signage and overall fun atmosphere. (Check out LSG pointing at her name printed on a HUGE Surf Cup sign with all the participants’ names)
This year was especially interesting for a few reasons. First, it was the inaugural event for many of the girls’ new USSDA teams as there was a separate DA bracket where teams played Friday/Saturday and then Monday/Tuesday. All the other teams played Saturday through Monday. Aside from this, the most intriguing thing was the continued rivalry between Silverlakes and Surf. Silverlakes announced their own Summer Tournament the same weekend and many teams opted to go there instead. Read about the Battle of the Thanksgiving Showcases here. Slammers, Beach, and Legends (along with others) all seem to be connected to Silverlakes and so they all decided to skip Surf in favor of this new tournament.
There are probably a myriad of political and financial reasons behind all this, but all I know for sure is that Oceanside over Norco in the middle of summer is a no-brainer. Aside from avoiding the heat of Norco, Surf Cup does everything so well to create an overall awesome experience. The fields at Oceanside were immaculate the first day- the whole complex looked like a golf course! The only bummer was that on Monday and Tuesday the compost facility behind the So Cal Complex was open for business, and you could definitely smell it! However, most importantly, we had 32+ college coaches at our game where our friends at the same age and level team at Silverlakes had less than five. I do know that the older teams at Silverlakes did have numerous college coaches, but I’m not sure why we need to make college coaches go in between Norco and Oceanside during the same weekend. (Although I guess they all know the way because they did it at Thanksgiving!)
San Diego United Summer Challenge | July 29-30 | San Diego, CA
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that San Diego United Summer Challenge was a fun and well-run tournament. BSG’s team wasn’t there for college coaches, but simply to play good soccer and have fun together. The fields for this tournament were all over Northern San Diego county, and although not always in the greatest shape, all the fields were well organized with field marshalls and tournament staff. BSG’s team played up a couple age groups and ended up winning the whole thing!
So Cal Cup | August 11-13 | Oceanside, CA (San Diego)
Not all teams are going to have the opportunity to play at Surf Cup, but the So Cal Cup has a similar atmosphere leading to a great experience for players! Held at the same beautiful Oceanside complex, the So Cal Cup also had the big tents, gear, and some fun signage. They also provided sports drinks, water, tents, and benches for all the fields just like some of the more prestigious showcases. I thought it was a great tournament and a perfect place to bring multiple teams from a club because everyone plays at the same location. The spot to take the Championship/Finalist photos added a nice touch and my girls were happy to see their favorite smoothies and teriyaki bowls available. I was impressed.
Did you attend and/or recommend any other tournaments this summer? Please share in the comments…