Over the summer (and winter!) we spend many weekends traveling 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!
Happy New Year… Vegas Cup 2016 has come and gone. We were trying to add it up and we couldn’t believe that this was our 5th trip out to the Vegas Cup over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. My how time flies. This year wasn’t our most successful year- especially after our great run to the finals last year, but we still had a great time with friends and team mates.
Name: Vegas Cup sponsored by the LVSA
Overall Impressions: Viva Las Vegas! Aside from the obvious fun things to do in Vegas, the fields are gorgeous and it’s a great getaway for the family as well as good prep after coming back from the Winter Break. This year was a bit more difficult for our family as we had just returned from being in England over Winter Break, but overall still a great trip.
Dates: January 2016 Martin Luther King Jr Holiday weekend
Cost: $795 U8-U10/ $995 U11 and above
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada (about a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles)
Application Process/Organization/Coaching Conflicts: The application process was organized and easy and coaching conflicts were minimized. If you plan to attend this tourney, register early and book hotels the day the email goes out. This is a “stay and play” tournament and they definitely check up on where each team is staying. Booking as soon as possible gets you your first choice. In the past, if you booked your hotel rooms early it was a very easy and well organized process. This year the hotel thing was totally crazy and very poorly managed. We booked rooms as soon as the applications came out and there was so much uncertainty, back and forth, mis-communication and drama with the tournament hotel coordinator. The final straw was that I received an email on Christmas Eve saying that my credit card information wasn’t correct (although I had put down the deposit months ago) and that I needed to fill out a form and return it by the 28th otherwise I would lose my reservation. That would have been fine, but we were in England. Fortunately I figured out a way to get it done, but it definitely could have been taken care of in early December rather than right at Christmas time when many people are traveling.
Check In: Check in was the night before and went smoothly. This year they had pins again- yay! If you’d like to buy a sweatshirt for your player, they are available at check in. I’d advise buying one as early as possible as they run out quickly.
Rules: 10 Point System. Quarter Finals resulted in PKs if tied and Semis and Finals had extra time then PKs if tied… or in some cases the final has an overtime with a “golden goal” winner. It’s a three day tournament with the semis and finals on Monday.
Strength of Competition: This is a premier (and huge!) tournament attended by many top teams as well as teams of all abilities. The number flights made for appropriate competition for all. There were teams from California, Utah, Texas and Colorado in attendance as well as some from even farther away. It was fun to meet all sorts of different people. This year in our age group some of the top teams were not in attendance because it was a CRL (California Regional League) weekend. This definitely had an impact on the level of competition, but it was still very high.
Fields: All our games were played on the beautiful Bettye Wilson and Kellogg Zaher soccer complexes. The huge Vegas complexes with still have perfect grass…and make me wonder why they have water for them! We don’t have anything of this caliber near us and the view is gorgeous as well. There are other smaller fields used as well, but we didn’t play on those.
Referees: Our referees were pretty decent this year, but Jen commented that their referees in the Silver Elite U9 division were not the greatest.
Weather: It was much cooler during the day this year that in years past. I wore a jacket most of the weekend and our night game was very chilly. You can see the bundled up moms in the photo collage 🙂
Hotels/Restaurants/Attractions: It’s Vegas Baby and as our coach said, “This one is for the parents”!! This is the true draw of the tournament and we always have fun. As I mentioned earlier, one thing that’s very important is to reserve your hotel rooms early for your team. They have special pricing and sell out quickly. As a condition of playing in the tournament, teams are required to stay in certain hotels, but there is a wide variety of choices. Apply for the tourney early and reserve your rooms the day the email with the hotels comes out! Hopefully next year they will improve the hotel process- what a mess this year! Plenty of people were discussing it on the soccer forum.
This year we stayed again on the strip at the beautiful Delano hotel in Mandalay Bay. I had always been hesitant to stay on the strip (in the past we stayed in Summerlin by the fields) because well… there are things I don’t really want my kids to see and hear. But, the Delano is a great place to stay! They have an entrance from the parking lot where you don’t have to walk through a casino as well as access to several restaurants. We took the tram to go ride the roller coaster at New York, New York and had a fun time. Our room was very, very nice with two bathrooms and a separate living room- all for a reasonable price. The only thing that was a bit of a bummer is that it’s a 20-30 minute drive to the fields. We are going back to Vegas for the College Showcase in March for my BSG and are staying in Summerlin, close to the field. Not quite as exciting, but very convenient. One thing that is definitely a factor when staying on the strip is the cost of food. It’s definitely not the Vegas of old with the $2 buffets!
Overall we had a great time as usual although it was a little bit bittersweet because it’s probably the last travel tournament that my LSG and her bestie will be teammates. I have to admit I got a little misty when we took their picture at the Bettye Wilson sign as we’ve done so many times. We’ve had so many adventures together and it’s really sad to think of it coming to an end because they are different birth years. This one definitely fits the saying, “Don’t be sad that it ended; be happy that it happened.”