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Kicking Off the Spring

Manhattan Soccer Club's MSC Kickoff Classic has become one of the top youth soccer tournaments in the Northeast United States.

It wasn't that long ago that New York City wasn't thought of as a premier youth soccer tournament destination. But thanks to Manhattan Soccer Club and the MSC Kickoff Classic, that is no longer the case.

2013 marks the fifth anniversary of the MSC Kickoff Classic, which has quickly grown to become the top-ranked boys and second-highest ranked girls tournament in New York East. Having become one of the most competitive tournaments in the country means that the MSC Kickoff Classic is bringing in some of the best teams in Region 1, as well as teams from outside the region and the country.

MSC Kickoff Classic field

"Better teams in better leagues are coming to our event to get prepared for their other spring tournaments and leagues," says Tournament Director Jason Kahan. "Ours is the first marquee event in the spring in the Northeast."

The Manhattan Kickoff has also become one of the largest tournaments in New York East. This requires the tournament to put in a great deal of effort to ensure that divisions are properly structured to serve premier and non-premier teams.

What allowed the tournament to come into being was the development of a massive complex of soccer fields at Manhattan's Randall's Island Park. MSC Kickoff Classic utilizes Randall's Island, as well as many other fields in the region, to provide teams with a first class tournament experience in the heart of New York City. Overall, the tournament uses 50 turf fields in and around New York City to accomodate its U8-U10 one-day tournament, U9-U10 two-day tournament and three-day U11-U18 tournament, which includes a college showcase for U16-U18 teams.

"We are the only high level tournament in a place like New York City," Kahan says. "We take pride in being a competitively priced tournament that makes sure teams are put into appropriate brackets."

For 2013, Manhattan SC is expecting between 500 and 600 teams for its tournament, which will be held March 1-3. The club is fortunate to have a strong amount of corporate sponsorship because of its proximity to New York City. All proceed from the tournament are used by the club to benefit its scholarship program, which helps the club subsidize playing opportunities for many of its players.

"It is important for us to run our own tournament, and we feel that the quality of our teams and relationships with other clubs is a draw, along with the allure of New York City and the quality of the facilities we use," says Director of Coaching Ray Selvadurai.

Ultimately, Manhattan Soccer Club is focused on customer service, making sure that it is cost effective for people to come to the tournament. The club recognizes that the coaches and players who come to the kickoff classic are looking for a convenient and competitive experience that they will want to come back to and tell others about. That is why the tournament does its due diligence to get the right teams into the right flights, accommodating as many teams as possible.

"Each day we work to improve in our organization and how we run the tournament," Selvadurai says. "That is a natural byproduct of our operations, and we think this year should be a great one for the tournament."

For more information about the MSC Kickoff Classic, click here.

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