It’s that time again… Summer is quickly approaching and it’s almost tournament time! We’ve been to more tournaments than I can count, but it’s still always exciting getting ready for a tournament- especially if it’s one of our favorites. If you are looking for a packing list, please check out my post Tournament Packing- Game Day, but I have to admit that I travel a little lighter these days.
A couple things that I always look out for in tournaments is Friday night check in and “Stay and Play.” Friday night check in is pretty self-explanatory, but a good thing to double check if you are the manager! Stay and Play tournaments mean that if your team is not local you are required to go through the tournament for hotel rooms (extra $$ for the tournament). Sometimes that works out well and you get a lower price, but other times it can be a total pain. Of course you can’t change anything, but it’s good to know what you are getting in to when your coach chooses tournaments.
If you are the one registering for the tournament, make sure you pay close attention to the age brackets as all the tournaments have moved to the new birth year requirements, but some seem to list the brackets differently. I’m sure that it will all be straightened out, but it’s something to double check.
If you’re in Southern California check the Cal South Tournament Listing for a complete sanctioned list, but here’s a few tournaments that we’ve either attended or I’ve heard about that might help you with your plan. Tournaments are listed in date order.
Memorial Day Weekend | San Diego
The Manchester City cup is a relatively new addition to the Surf Cup family (Surf Cup, Surf College Cup and Surf Thanksgiving) and it is a qualifier for the “real” Surf Cup with finalists gaining automatic acceptance. It promises to be a first class tournament played at either the Polo Fields or the SoCal Complex in Oceanside. We haven’t attended this one, but from what I saw from last year’s pictures it was well organized with many amenities just like the other Surf Tournaments. They do an outstanding job, but it’s a very pricey tournament ranging from $825-$12,995 depending on age level. It’s a “stay and play” tournament but no Friday night check in.
Memorial Day | All Around!
The Cerritos Memorial Challenge used to be THE Memorial Day tournament, but that has definitely changed with the addition of the Manchester City America’s Cup. This is still a very large tournament (#1 according to them) with fields all over Northern Orange County and this year all the boys will be playing at the lovely Silverlakes Complex in Norco. We’ve played in this tournament several times and haven’t had the nicest of fields, but that may have changed with the addition of Silverlakes. Fees range from $595 to $895 with no Friday night check in.
June 11/12 | South Bay (Torrance Area)
This is a smaller tournament, but I mention it because it is in a different geographic area that almost all the others- you might even have a field with an ocean view, but then again you might not. It’s an affordable, well organized tournament with fees ranging from $495-$695 with no Friday night check in.
June 18-20 | Silverlakes (Norco)
We attended this tournament several years ago, but it’s now changed locations and is being hosted all in one location at the beautiful Silverlakes Fields in Norco. I love tournaments that are all in one location, but it is going to start to get really hot in Norco in June! This tournament promises college coaches in attendance which is a nice bonus. Watch out for the Monday play date- it’s not a holiday Monday! Fees range from $550-$895.
June 18/19 | Southern Orange County
This is a fun local Orange County tournament with an interesting mix of mid-level teams and some high level teams who often “play up.” I have very fond memories of this tournament as it’s the one where we joined Goats FC for an awesome weekend. Read a bit about our adventures here- Goats Go #2. We played at J Serra, but the website lists fields all over Southern Orange County. The price is right at $525- $695 with no Friday night check in.
July 15-18 | San Diego
We’ve never attended the Albion Cup, but I’ve heard from many people that it is a well organized, high level tournament played in beautiful San Diego. As with most big tournaments, there is a required Friday night check in and it is a “stay and play” tournament. Again this is a tournament with a non-holiday Monday play date- don’t let that catch you by surprise!
July 16/17 | Southern Orange County
The Slammers Futbol Classic is always a very high level tournament (especially for girls) with many local top teams attending. We’ve played in this tournament several times and it has been well organized with nice fields and great competition. There are usually several tiers of play making it nice for teams of all levels. Fees are reasonable ranging from $550-$800. There is not a lot of information on their website, but it doesn’t look like it’s a Stay and Play tournament and check in is 90 minutes before your first game. Check out my Tournament Tell All- Slammers Futbol Classic from 2013 for more information.
July 23/24 | Camarillo
We’ve attended the Eagles Summer Classic several times with both girls and we always enjoy going. Most of the games are played at the beautiful Pleasant Valley fields, but some are farmed out to other smaller venues which can get difficult with more than one kid. At the younger ages there is strong competition, but at the older ages some of the brackets are mainly mid-level teams. Entry fees are $600-$700 and it says it is a Stay and Play tournament with no Friday night check in. One drawback is that hotels in the Camarillo area can be expensive in July- several pro teams use hotels as home base for training camps. Book your hotel early if you are going to this one!
July 30-August 1 | U15-U19
August 6- August 8 | U10-U14
The most prestigious of them all… the original Surf Cup is an invite only tournament that draws teams from around the country. We’ve been to this tournament twice and it is definitely the highlight of the summer although you pay for it with the fees ranging from $950-$1495. Most teams are happy to pay the entrance fee as well as adhere to the “Stay and Play” requirements and the Friday night check in. This tournament has definitely increased in size by adding more levels of play- especially in the younger ages. When we played in 2014 at U12 there were only 12 teams at our age level. Last year at U13 there were at least double that amount. One incentive for the second tier is a promise of a tier one bid the following year for the champion. I really need to get around to writing a review, but this is an amazing don’t miss tournament. It never hurts to apply even if you don’t think you have a great chance of getting accepted. You never know! Games are played at either the San Diego Polo Fields or the SoCal Complex in Oceanside. Both locations look amazing with giant tents and a plethora of merchandise screaming “Best of the Best” and you definitely feel like it when you are there.
August 6/7 | OC Great Park
If you are a younger and aren’t playing in Surf Cup, or an older team, the Strikers Summer Cup looks like an excellent choice. All games will be played at one of my favorite places, the beautiful OC Great Park in Irvine, which not only has amazing fields, but is a lovely park with walking trails and even a hot air balloon. It’s also very close to great shopping at the Irvine Spectrum Center 🙂 Strikers OC tournaments are always very well organized and fees are very reasonable at $535-$625. Sorry boys, this one is for girls only.
August 13/14 | Orange County
The West Coast Futbol Classic is another of the traditional “biggies” for top teams along with the Slammers Cup. Like their tag line says, this tournament attracts the best talent in the West. This is a very large tournament with multiple flights and fields spread across Mission Viejo, Irvine and Lake Forest. We’ve played in this tournament several times and it has always been well organized with nice fields and very strong competition. Tournament fees are reasonable at $450-$795. It is NOT a Stay and Play, but does have a required Friday night check in.
September 3-5 | Oceanside
The summer tournament season ends with the Labor Day tournaments. A favorite is the Blues Cup which is now held at the So Cal Complex in Oceanside for a fun tournament atmosphere, but that atmosphere doesn’t come cheap with fees ranging from $795 to $1295. This tournament always attracts top teams and has great medals! It is a Stay and Play tournament with a required check in on Saturday morning.
These are just a select few of the many, many tournaments across Southern California. What are your favorite tournaments and why??