Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Soccer tournament review: Mayors Cup in Long Beach

Compared to most youth soccer tournaments, the 2015 Mayors Cup in Long Beach, California, was relatively low-key.

While many tournaments are crammed with so many teams that shivering kids and parents have to show up at 7 a.m. Saturday to check in for 8 a.m. games, the first kickoff at the Mayors Cup was at the more reasonable hour of 9:00.

Other tournaments, pressed to fit everything in, shorten games and rush on the next set of teams the minute the final whistle blows for the previous match. Not the Mayors Cup. Games were full length (for the age group) and there was a comfortable 15 minutes between matches.

Also good: The Heartwell Park fields were not crammed together like at some competitions. There was ample elbow room.

Even parking was a bit less troublesome at the Mayors Cup than at most tournaments. You may not have been able to park exactly close to your field
in the world of soccer tournaments, that's as elusive as the lost island of Atlantis but there were enough spots within a reasonable distance.

Still, future participants should be warned: Be sure to read the parking signs. Some people who didn't got tickets.

The biggest weakness in the Mayors Cup (no apostrophe in the name; go figure) was the often unbalanced competition. As an "open" tournament, the Mayors Cup accepts all teams whether highly selective academy programs or a local recreational team and the differences showed.

One team pounded its opponents, 10-0, 9-1, 15-0, 7-0. There were other games that ended 12-0 and 10-0. One team was outscored by a cumulative 26-0.

Not all games were lopsided. Particularly at older ages, the competition was more balanced. Still, if you're entering this tournament be advised that you could be facing any level of opponent.

One last positive note: The reffing (that I saw, anyway) was pretty good. Did I disagree with a call or two? Sure. But generally the refs seemed to get it right.

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