Soccer tournaments can be a lot of fun for the players and parents or a complete nightmare if you are not prepared.
The first question a coach should ask when choosing the right soccer tournament is, What are you trying to achieve?
Are you looking for a pre-season test to prepare the team for a tough schedule ahead, or a post-season celebration to reward them for a job well-done?
Do you want to use the relative anonymity of a faraway event to test players in unfamiliar new positions, or do you want to do well in a prestigious event so that you can shout from the rooftops, and bring kudos and respect to your club for the next round of recruiting and tryouts? Or perhaps you have an older team that you want to showcase to watching college coaches?
Choosing the right soccer tournament for your team’s level of play is crucial. By all means use a tournament as an opportunity to challenge your team by pitting them against higher level or older teams than they might face in weekly league play. Traveling further away will also enable you to see how your team gets on against unfamiliar opposition. But don’t go overboard.
Sending your recreational team to a prestigious regional tournament for select clubs will not only give your players a frustrating and demoralizing experience but will also have opponents and tournament organizers unhappy with you. Remember that the other team paid their money too, and they also want to be challenged. Nobody benefits from a 14-0 score.
Most tournaments have websites that carry the schedules and scores of previous year’s events. Take a look at them and see if there are any familiar team names on there. Perhaps you will see a local opponent and use how they did to gauge how your team may fare. Or perhaps you can call coaches you know who have competed in the tournament to ask their opinion on how your team might stack up.
We've added a list of tournaments that we feel are quality events that will both challenge players and also give them an opportunity to have a good time.
Good luck and let's us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any other tournaments we should add!