As with many things in life if you want something, go get it. As one of my university professors once said “if you want change, you have to change yourself or your situation. You’re crazy to expect better results if you’re doing the same thing over and over again.” With that being said there are many soccer tournaments in North America that are great venues to participate in as a player that will expose you to the best players and top scouts around. Depending on the tournament some will be by invitation only and have teams from all around the world. By playing in these types of tournaments you will not only improve as a player and have a great experience but you’ll have a better idea of the quality that is out there.
Even if your team is unsuccessful these types of tournaments are great for developing as a player. I always like to watch other teams play, especially the quarters, semis and finals if were unfortunately knocked out early. It’s beneficial to see how each team play, including the player in your position.
Not only will these tournaments be memorable but college coaches and scouts from all over North America will be in attendance. This type of exposure will give you a greater chance of playing at a higher level in the future. These are fantastic networking opportunities. You’ll be in an environment where you’ll be able to mingle with other teams, coaches, managers, scouts, parents and players. By putting yourself in this environment will increase help you network. You’ll need to have the skill, athleticism and drive amongst other things to play at a high level but networking along the way will help you get there. Don’t stay in the same place expecting everyone to come see you. Go to major tournaments! Sign-up as a guest player on the tournament website. Enter your club team and if your team is good enough you will receive invitations to some of the most elite tournaments around the country.
One of the biggest showcase tournaments in North America is the Dallas Cup. A youth tournament for the age groups of U13-U19 by invitation only and selected based on their performance and rankings. It was founded in 1980 and is held annually in Dallas, Texas. In previous years, teams and referees have travelled from all over the world to participate in the tournament. The tournament has an opening ceremonies event and all finals are played a stadium venue. If you can participate in this tournament it would be a once in a lifetime experience. Whatever your ultimate goal in soccer may be attending these types of tournaments will have a lasting effect and open up doors for you.
Some noticeable names that played in the Dallas Cup to go on to play on professional team and even world cup teams include Raul Gonzales Blanco, David Beckham, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe. Not only have several international famous players played in the Dallas Cup but several players have gone on to play at the college level including division one, two, three and NAIA.
The Dallas Cup would be a great experience to be involved in world class competition, have world class referees with past world cup experience, and to be in front of college coaches and professional scouts. For more on the Dallas Cup click here.
There are dozens of other showcase tournaments throughout North America that can also open opportunities for you. One of the most important things to understand is no matter the quality player you are, you must get yourself to these events. All too often players want coaches to come see them play at their home club. This is not to say that it cannot happen (and if a coach is prepared to come see you play then by all means let him/her come see you) but travelling to a venue with tournament with top quality athletes, dozens of coaches and scouts from all levels of competitions who will scout you is one of the best ways to get recognized. By attending one of these tournaments you have automatically increased opportunities to come your way that may never have in the first place.
Which tournaments did you have success in getting exposure to other coach’s and teams?