Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tournament review: Copa Cabana Beach Soccer, Long Beach

The Copa Cabana beach soccer tournament held in Long Beach on July 12 and 13, 2014, was a big party-like event. About 140 teams, both kids' and adults', competed across 14 fields, while a big screen showed World Cup games and music blared from large speakers.

The tournament seemed well-organized schedules were posted six days ahead of time, fields were set up and ready to go on Saturday morning, and the games  went off (mostly) on schedule. The website was useful, with easy access to the schedules, a field map and rules. I also liked that the tournament promptly posted results online (I'm amazed at a how many competitions don't do this).

That said, the Copa Cabana tournament also had one HUGE negative: The parking situation was atrocious.

At first glance, you wouldn't think this would be; there are two large parking lots right next to the tournament location. Yet, with somewhere around 1,200 participants in the tournament, these lots filled up fast. By the time I was pulling into a spot in one of the lots ($12 for all day) at 7:10 a.m. the spaces were almost all gone.

People arriving later had few options. Street parking is extremely limited in the Belmont Shores neighborhood of Long Beach where the tournament is held. Frustrated drivers fumed as they circled the parking lots and nearby streets.

How did this happen? Blame the tournament organizers. They simply allowed too many teams in the competition. There were so many teams that six age groups had to be split into completely separate divisions.

The parking problems would be eased if fewer teams were included, but I doubt that Copa Cabana Beach Soccer, a for-profit company based in Santa Monica, will take this step. Fewer teams mean less money.

If you do decide to participate in this tournament, a few suggestions:

  • If you're driving, plan on staying all day. You won't want to move your car once you find a spot. So load up a cooler with plenty of food and drinks, bring a beach umbrella and sun screen and settle in.

  • If you're a local, consider riding your bike there. You'll save a ton of frustration and some money, too.

  • If you don't bring your own food, you have options other than the expensive offerings at the tournament stands. Walk a few blocks inland to 2nd Street, where there's a good selection of restaurants and shops.

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