Tourney Time

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 NCAA D3 college soccer and get exposure to NCAA D3 coaches, the question becomes how many tourneys really make sense?

Since there are no athletic scholarships at the NCAA D3 level and if money is a concern, you need to be a little judicious in your selection of tournaments as a player.  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 father and son are going.  Depending on where you are coming from, they are going to need two airline tickets to Orlando (let’s say you got a good price at $296 each), a hotel for about three nights (at a minimum of $125 per night), a rental car (economy- $70 per day) and food ($40 per day, assume hotel has breakfast included).  Let’s add that up!

$592            Airline tickets

$375            Hotel

$280            Car Rental

$160            Lunch/Dinner

$1407            Total

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”.  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.

Are we saying not to go to these tournaments?  No— absolutely not.  You as a parent and a player must keep in mind what the 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?  Try to 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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About d3recruitinghub

Soccer coach, trainer, business analyst, & project manager.
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