This is the weekend I’ve been waiting on for quite some time.
Our new club soccer tryouts were held back in May, yet this is the first time we’ll get together as a team in live game action. Because the ages I coach are boys that are all playing for their high school teams, we didn’t play in a fall league. But now that the high school season is over, instead of battling each other in county play, we put on the same colors and take our talents on the road.
For the next three weekends, our boys from across Carroll County will strap on their boots and compete together in “showcase” tournaments against some of the best teams in the region.
We’ll play as many games over the next three weeks as teams play for their entire fall season before we move indoors for winter training. We’ll spend thousands of dollars in the communities that host these tournaments in registration fees, meals, hotels, fuel, and any other kind of shopping we may get in to between games. There are so many different types of tournaments available it can make your head spin.
Indoor tournaments like AAU basketball, indoor soccer, futsal, and wrestling. Outdoor ones that include Ultimate Frisbee, fishing, golf, and countless baseball, softball, and soccer tournaments throughout the country.
And some of my favorites are the bocce ball tournaments in Manchester.
There are tournaments at every level of play for every skill level imaginable. You have professional tournaments like the PGA, LPGA, and Champions golf tournaments. There’s the NCAA lacrosse tournament for the collegiate fan. And then the multitude of recreational tournaments from little league baseball, lacrosse, and beach soccer in Ocean City, to the world’s largest men’s softball tournament in Richmond.
I often wonder if these tournaments are designed for the enjoyment of the participants, or do they represent a chance for a financial windfall for the tournament hosts? Is the amount of preparation and planning beforehand and the breakdown and clean-up afterward worth the profit the tournament organizers can reap?
If you’ve ever participated in any recreational sports tournament, you would probably concur that the opportunity to compete in a large number of games in a short period of time is something you relish. Hanging out with your teammates between games is more enjoyable than rushing to the game to get there on time and then rushing home when it’s over. By traveling to a tournament, you have the ability to play a team from New York or South Carolina and compare their styles of play with their funny accents.
And the chance to bring home some new hardware if you are lucky enough to make it to the finals is icing on the cake.
As a coach, you get the opportunity to see your players compete against some challenging opponents. You can move players around to see how they might react in different positions and provide more playing time to all of your players as you seek to keep your starters rested and give everyone plenty of field time. And you learn more about your players by watching them interact off the field with one another and the other tournament participants. Some of the best times that my players from my previous teams have had at these tournaments, win or lose, is in the hotel pool with kids from another part of the country.
It doesn’t take a Mensa Club member to do the math to figure out these tournaments can be quite lucrative.
The Hempfield United Soccer Tournament that we are playing in this weekend has more than 500 teams competing from throughout the country. At an average registration fee of $850, that’s more than $425,000 in gross revenues — just from registrations! That doesn’t include the concessions, parking, and vendor fees I’m sure bring in a pretty penny as well. There are costs such as referee fees, field expenses, port-a-potties, and awards.
Even at a 20 percent profit margin (low estimate, I suspect) that many small businesses would envy, that’s more than $85,000 in net profits.
That’s just revenue that goes to the hosting soccer club. I can’t imagine what additional cash flow goes through the small businesses and franchise restaurants in the surrounding community.
Imagine if we had turf fields and could offer the same. But that’s another story.
As someone who has competed in many tournaments as both player and coach and has written the check to cover the registration fees, I would say the benefits that come with the camaraderie and competition are well worth the money you spend.
American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
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And you can’t put a price on this time with your teammates.