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Elite Soccer Tournaments Teams Up With NSCAA

By Eric Slack

Question: What is one of the most important concerns for U15-plus club coaches when looking at what tournaments to attend? Answer: College coach attendance. One recent announcement aims to solve that concern and then some. Back in May, Elite Tournaments and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) teamed up on a three-year partnership to hold a series of elite showcase tournaments and coaching education events across the country.

Elite Tournaments got its start in 2000 as a fundraiser for 10 teams. Since that time, it has organized more than 130 youth soccer events for nine different clubs, colleges and international and professional organizations. In 2010, it ran 16 tournaments over 18 weekends across the Mid-Atlantic region and in Louisiana, New Jersey and Bermuda.

"The second year, we went up to 64 teams at just the U13 age level and it just took off from there. This past January, we sat down with the NSCAA," said Michael Libber, founder and president of Elite. "Because they are the membership organization for college coaches, that provides an advantage with their direct contact with coaches year-round. They wanted to start a tournament series with more of an emphasis on development and college recruitment with one game per day."

That developmental approach is slowly beginning to take hold. Even the best conditioned youth athlete has trouble performing up to their best when playing two matches in a day. Fatigue inevitably sets in, and that is a reason why the partnership is targeting holiday weekends. By holding events over three-day weekends, players can get in three games and won't be required to miss school.

Every team that registers gets one complimentary one-year NSCAA membership. In conjunction with the games, college coaches will be offered the chance to take part in NSCAA educational courses after matches. Libber said some events may also include courses for the club coaches in attendance. In the evenings, the events will include a player combine, monitored training sessions that will focus on everything from speed and conditioning to skill building.

"That allows coaches to see players in games and in practices. That is unique," Libber noted.

The first two events are scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. The 2011 NSCAA Showcase - Midwest for U15-U19 boys and girls will be held in Overland Park, Kan., while the Baltimore College Showcase for U15-U19 players will also include a U12-U14 component.

Libber said the plan is to target only top notch facilities. For instance, Elite Tournaments recently inked a deal with the Lakewood Ranch complex in Sarasota, Fla. It is a brand new facility with 22 lighted grass fields. Adding state-of-the-art facilities with the NSCAA's connection to college coaches is a recipe for success.

It has certainly been a hectic time for Libber and Elite since the partnership was announced. He mentioned locations like Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, Minneapolis and Geneva, Ohio as possible destinations for Elite-NSCAA showcases, and many more cities have inquired about bringing these events into town.

Elite also recently announced that UMBC's soccer complex was renamed Elite Tournaments Field at UMBC Soccer Stadium. Libber played and served as assistant coach at UMBC, and Elite Tournaments is one of the programs biggest supporters.

For an organization that has experienced immense growth in just over a decade, these are certainly exciting times. Libber is positive that this partnership will generate exceptional results for Elite, the NSCAA, and the players and coaches in attendance.

"No one else is offering anything like this, and I think we will be able to provide a better experience that is less expensive than the alternatives," Libber concluded.

Elite Soccer Tournaments Teams Up With NSCAA to Soccer Tournaments Home

Elite Soccer Tournaments Teams Up With NSCAA to College Showcase Soccer Tournaments

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