Before selecting a tournament, the first question you should ask yourself is what do you hope to get out of it? With so many events out there, each catering to a different audience, it is very difficult to choose between them until you know which audience you are. If you are not sure about the answer to this, check out the why page in this section of the website.
When you have decided why you are going, step two is to get access to the lists of tournaments out there that are available to you. Most states have a list of sanctioned events listed in calendar format. To look at what they have to offer, search for their website (i.e. type in Arizona Youth Soccer) then look for their sanctioned tournament list. US Club also has a sanctioned tournament list. Other sources to check include private companies like GotSoccer, who run the registration software for a lot of the bigger tournaments out there. They keep a calendar of their tournaments. US Youth Soccer also have a national list, which can be seen here.
Once you have the information, step three is to filter out the ones that you don’t want to go to. Factors that you could apply include: –
- Level of competition: are you going to play against teams that are better than you, teams you will play again in the league, teams you have never seen before, or even teams you can beat? Check out their websites for the results from last year to see what kind of teams were there ;
- Size: are you looking for a massive event with hundreds of sites or a community tournament with only a few teams? Our site tells you how many teams were there last year for each event that we review;
- Facilities and fields: How good are the fields? Which ones would your team be on? How far are they from hotels and/or each other? Check out our field reviews for in-state fields;
- Number of Games: Do you get three games as a minimum or four? How many do you want to play? How many days will they be spread over?;
- Distance: How far is it from where you live? How easy/expensive will it be to get and stay there?;
- Prestige: How many ranking points will you get if you take part or win? Do you care about ranking points? Will your players look back on this event as something special to remember?;
- Showcase?: If your team are in high school, will this tournament have college coaches at it watching games? If so, are they the wants you want to see? Check their website to see which coaches have committed to this year or who was there last year;
- Club affiliation: Politics! Does your club support the other club and vice versa? Sadly, this is a big factor for some clubs;
- Cost: Can your team afford it? It is good value for money? Do they force you to stay in their hotels? How much are flights?;
- Entertainment/Attractions: What else is there for the team to do in the area? Where can you go for team dinners etc?; and
- Reviews/Experience: Have you been to the tournament before? Have other coaches or parents in your club? What did they think of it?
Once you have your list down to 2-3 events you might be able to make a decision yourself. Alternatively, this could be where you take your shortlist to a team meeting and ask for a discussion among players/parents followed by a vote. This all depends on how democratic the decision-making process is on your team. When the decision(s) has been made, we recommend adding them to your team calendar and other information so that everyone is clear where the team will be going this year. Ideally you should decide all tournaments for the year at the beginning so that there are no surprises for parents later on.