Over the summer (and winter!) we spend many weekends traveling around Southern California attending soccer tournaments. As always, all opinions are my own and based on personal experience unless otherwise noted. If you have reviews of your own, please add in the comments! This time we traveled…again… to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Players College Showcase!
Name: Vegas Players Showcase
Although we’ve been to Vegas many times for the January Vegas Cup, this was our first year attending the Vegas College Showcase. This is one tournament that almost all the older teams attend and becomes a melting pot of ECNL, CSL, SCDSL, National League and more. It’s a Friday through Sunday tournament… so many girls missed school I’m sure they wondered what was happening! We really enjoyed the March weather and for such a huge tournament it is very well organized as far as I could tell.
Depending on the age group this is either a traditional tournament (U13-U15) or just a four game Showcase. National League was also playing their league as a part of the Showcase, making it a party for everyone.
Dates: March 11-13 (boys) March 18-20 (girls) 2016
Location: All over (and I mean ALL OVER) the greater Las Vegas area
Check In: One hour prior check in at the field- yay! Check in was organized and easy and was also required before and after each game.
Number of Teams: Seemed like thousands
Strength of Competition: There are multiple brackets at each age level and it was interesting to see who got seeded where. BSG’s U15 team was in the middle bracket which I think was pretty appropriate. I thought that it was really strange that an ECNL team was in the bracket below ours. Our age level was a regular tournament format with semi-finals etc…
Fields: Games were played all over the Las Vegas area. National League and the top brackets seemed to play all their games at the regular large Bettye Wilson and Kellogg Zaher complexes, but the other brackets were all over the place. Our team played several games about 30 minutes out at the Teton Trails location, which was two very nice turf fields, but far away from the strip! The mountains were beautiful and reminded some of us of Palm Springs.
All the finals for our age group were played at the Bettye Wilson complex, which is always lovely.
Weather: Las Vegas is much warmer in March than January so the girls were hot, especially on the turf fields. We enjoyed the sunshine, but definitely needed lots of sunscreen and shade. I bet it was difficult for teams coming from cold climates to adjust to the very warm afternoons.
Hotels: This is a stay and play tournament so all hotel bookings are required to go through the tournament. Our wonderful team manager took care of that, so I’m not sure how difficult it was. We usually stay at either the Delano or the JW Marriott, but this time we stayed at the Residence Inn right across the freeway from the Mandalay Bay. At first I wasn’t sure about the choice, but I wouldn’t complain about a hotel choice that a manager made- I know how difficult it is to make all the arrangements! It turned out to be a very different Vegas experience, but it was very easy to get to your car and go (no walking through a smoky casino or through a giant parking garage), as well as very convenient to go to the strip and offered a nice free breakfast. I didn’t reserve a big enough room (I didn’t think the whole family was going- but they did), so that wasn’t the greatest, but that’s my fault. My kids are getting too big to sleep on a sofa bed. I always like staying at Residence Inns because of the full kitchen, but we didn’t really need it this time.
Things to Do: Well, it’s Las Vegas! There are tons of things to do. We spend one night exploring the strip with LSG and friends. They loved the chocolate fountain at Bellagio and the dancing water show. The older our girls get, the scarier it gets in Las Vegas after dark. Around 9-10pm it starts getting sketchy- I think people are so drunk they don’t even notice how young the girls are. One of our protective Mama Bear moms had to tell a guy, “Do you know she’s only 14!!!!” It’s definitely important to keep an eye on the girls the later it gets- independent exploring during the day and early evening is lots of fun for them though.
Places to Eat: Again, there are tons of amazing places to eat, but for the unique needs of soccer girls (and boys) I have a few suggestions…
- Egg Works– This is a great breakfast place with a location very close to Bettye Wilson field. They have a perfect back room for team breakfasts and a large menu. It can be very crowded on Saturday and Sunday mornings so make sure you call ahead for a large group. Their staff is also very friendly.
- Sweet Tomatoes– This is also a location very close to Bettye Wilson field and is the same as Soup Plantation for those of you in California. It’s not gourmet, but it has healthy options and everyone pays for themselves- winner! The kids also get their food very quickly and can usually all sit together which is helpful. The prices are also pretty reasonable- don’t forget to google for a coupon.
- Firehouse Subs– This is our favorite lunch place! It is also right next to Bettye Wilson field and their sandwiches are delicious. They are also very nice and even wrapped up BSG’s leg one year with ice and clear wrap! We never miss a chance to eat there.
Final Thoughts: We had a great weekend! Since only one of our girls was playing, we actually sat by the pool on Saturday afternoon. It was also fun because we were the Champions of our bracket! You can tell it was hot by her very red face!
That was exciting… but then we had to drive home… for 7 1/2 hours when it usually takes four. Fun times, but at least it was a great weekend. Were you there? How long did it take you to get home??