As things warm up this spring, it is time for club players to get back to tournament soccer and college coaches recruiting there. For players looking to play D3 college soccer and get exposure to D3 coaches, the question becomes how many tourneys do I need to go to get enough exposure? From our last poll, over 53% of you were going to more than 5 tournaments and 35% were going to 3 to 5.
If you are looking to play D1 or D2 soccer, the more events that you get to the better your chances of getting that almighty athletic scholarship. Since they are non-existent at D3, you need to be a little more judicious in your selection of tournaments as a player. As always, we are looking at things from a D3 perspective.
Let’s look at the cost. Entry fees for tournaments can range from the $450 to over $1000 per team. If you divide that equally among 18 players, that’s $25 to $58 per player. The other big cost is travel. If you’re driving 100 miles each way in a car that gets 20 MPG, you’ll be spending about $37 on gasoline per day (with gas price of $3.70 per gallon). Add in another $5 per day for tolls, $10 per day for lunch and a $20 tourney T-shirt. So for a “local” two day tourney, you may wind up spending around $180 to $212 per event. If your team is doing 5 per year, that’s around $1000 per year.
Now if you start going to tournaments where you have to fly and stay overnight in a hotel, then it gets really expensive! Let’s take a look at the cost to go to the Disney College Showcase which is held after Christmas (December 27-30). Let’s assume I am going with my son who is a high school junior. We are going to need two airline tickets from Philadelphia to Orlando ($296 each), a hotel for three nights (we’ll fly down on the 27th before the first game and fly back on the 30th- 3 nights at $125 per night), a rental car (we are going economy- $70 per day) and food ($40 per day, our hotel has breakfast included). Let’s add that up!
$592 Airline tickets
$280 Car Rental
Keep in mind that these are very conservative estimates! And that doesn’t include going to the theme parks in Orlando or a round of golf or the actual registration fee for the tourney. If you do 5 of those per year, you are looking at $7000 per year. You could pay a good chunk of college tuition with that money!
From the perspective of a D3 coach and looking at the cost/benefit analysis, spending this kind of money on a soccer tourney doesn’t make sense! You are better off spending it on an SAT prep tutor or a regular tutor to help your child improve their SAT scores or bring up their GPA. That will get you more bang for your buck. See our previous post “Scholarship Money As A Division III Athlete” from 1/28/2011. Getting noticed by a D3 coach in Florida is great, but it’s not going to get you any more money for your college education from a D3 school.
Am I saying not to go to these tournaments? No— absolutely not. You as a parent and a player must keep in mind what your reward will be. If you are seeking a financial reward from a D3 college, that won’t happen. If you want to have a once in a lifetime type experience playing soccer with your friends, then it is definitely worth the trip.
Another important consideration is which tournaments do the coaches attend. If your team is thinking about going to Schwenksville’s College Soccer Showcase Tournament/Polka Festival/Boat Show, you may want to look at the list of college coaches that actually attended that event the previous year. Contact the D3 colleges that interest you and ask if they will be attending this year. You and your team may be able to save time and money by finding a different event to schedule if none of the schools you are interested will be in attendance.
Lastly, is the competition. Are you driving 100 miles for a tournament to play a team from the next town over that you have already played a dozen times in the last few years? I suggest you find tournaments where you will get to play teams that you don’t normally play against. That makes for more exciting competition and you can experience different styles of play as well. Again, that is an important part of the soccer experience.
The bottom line is this— going to tournaments is a great experience. You must balance the cost versus the value and exposure you will get at the D3 level. And make sure to enjoy the experience along the way! To determine how many tournaments you will attend, you have to look at what you expect to get out of each event and determine what it will cost you in both time, money and effort. If it is worth it, then go for it!
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