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Golden Goal Tournament Park

Providing Unique Soccer Tournament Experiences at an Olympic-Style Complex

By Eric Slack

Soccer teams have plenty of options when it comes to tournaments, and sometimes it can be difficult to make a distinction between one tournament and another. The Golden Goal Tournament Park in Fort Ann, NY offers something different, however.

The driving concept behind the creation of Golden Goal was to create a tournament park built to provide a competitive, Olympic-style environment. The facility and programming are unique. Although Golden Goal does host similar tournaments to those that many club and recreational teams have traditionally attended, its programming goes way beyond the traditional.

Golden Goal

Opened in 2007, the park hosts weekly tournaments and has a tournament field complex and residential village space. It has four lighted turf fields and four grass fields, all regulation size. Golden Goal includes the Athlete's Village, where 36 clubhouses hold up to 720 people per week right on the complex.

Tournament play, lodging, and meals can all be held on site in a complex that includes 24-hour security and a medical facility.

“Not many places offer this kind of setting. Unlike staying in hotels, where it can be tough to keep teams together, the players get to spend a lot more time bonding as a group,” says Dale Weingarten, park director. “Teams also get to know people from the other teams as well and learn to respect and appreciate their opponents.”

In addition to all those team-building benefits, Golden Goal is located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, near to Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and attractions like Six Flags Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom. On site or off, the area has much to offer teams looking for an appropriately competitive soccer experience and a top vacation destination.

In 2011, the park will be hosting several soccer tournaments, including the Golden Goal Cup and the Golden Goal Challenge, held in July and August for boys and girls between U11 and U16. These events are for a limited number of teams and include extras like team building sessions and access to the Team Challenge Course, a low ropes course.

“The Golden Goal Challenge is our six-day program, and that is really why we designed and built the park,” says Weingarten. “We get a variety of competitive levels, but all kids come and experience an Olympic-style week of soccer where they are treated as special athletes. We do four weeks of the weekly program, two weeks for girls and two weeks for boys.”

Golden Goal

These aren't the only events held at the complex. This Memorial Day weekend, Golden Goal, the legendary AC Milan of Italy, and the AC Milan Boston youth club have teamed up to host the Milan Cup at Golden Goal. For boys and girls teams from U10-U16, U10 and U11 teams will play 8v8 while the rest will play 11v11. Because this event will bring in more teams than the Athlete's Village can handle, the tournament has a designated list of nearby hotels for teams that stay at outside the complex.

Beyond that, the complex has Elite Soccer Center Champions Cup weekends scheduled for June. Golden Goal also hosts camps for organizations like Red Bull New York and the Far Post Soccer Club, offers training sessions, and hosts Region I games.

With the four-week, six-day programming as the park's signature events, Weingarten says that Golden Goal is primarily focused on ensuring that all of its programming is sustainable in the long-term. For example, he is working with AC Milan and AC Milan Boston to ensure the Milan Cup becomes an annual event.

“We want to keep that going, as well as have the Red Bulls come back and keep our college and high school training programs going,” he says. “There can be some obstacles in the way of getting the word out about all the different things we offer here. But we are focused on getting a clear message out about what we offer and how teams can benefit from our programming.”

For more information about Golden Goal, visit their website at www.goldengoalsoccer.com. And if you’re interested in havinging your tournament or soccer complex profiled, please email us at newsdesk@soccernewengland.com.


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