Disney’s Showcase is raising the bar

Disney’s Showcase is raising the bar
by J.R. Eskilson
July 12, 2013

Perfect fields, top-level competition, and college scouts lined up on the sidelines – there is not much more many could ask of a tournament than those three key factors, but the Disney Showcase offers that and much more.

One of the premier youth soccer tournaments in the United States, the Disney Showcase is held annually in Orlando, Florida on the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex with some of the top clubs in the country descending on the Sunshine State in late December.

“Back when the Showcase started in 2000, it became hugely popular very quickly,” Disney Showcase Senior Sale Manager Channing Swears told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We outgrew from the demand of the teams that wanted in. The college coaches flooded in. It was a good problem to have.”

The massive demand for a place at the altar of one of the best youth sports events in the country created a very limited supply for spots, and thus a need for a qualifier for the event.

Swears said that the qualifier, which is held over Labor Day weekend at the same location, was started in 2004.

“It is a way for a team to play its way into the Showcase. It is a chance for a team with less of a resume than some to earn the right to compete against the best at the highest level.”

The winners from the Disney Soccer Showcase Qualifier are guaranteed a spot at the Showcase in December. Swears added that a number of those winners have done well at the main event – and been given an opportunity to play in front of college coaches that would have otherwise never been available to those players.

As for the Showcase, club coaches have come away thoroughly impressed with the setup and organization of the event in Florida.

“CUP has always enjoyed coming down to the 'Proving Ground' for the Disney Soccer Showcase,” Cincinnati United Premier Director of Coaching Bobby Puppione told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “The event attracts the best teams from across the country to play in one of the top youth soccer events of the year. Disney allows our teams to showcase themselves against quality competition in front of numerous college coaches in a great atmosphere at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

“The event also brings a welcomed change of weather for Midwest teams. We have won multiple titles over the last couple years at Disney and we hope for continued success in this year's event."

Last season’s event offered another added bonus for teams as Italian soccer giants Roma trained at the complex while the games were being played. Roma was in town for a friendly against Orlando City, a USL Pro squad, during the winter break of its Serie A season. The Italian clubs plans for this season are still to be determined.

Whether it is the Showcase or the Qualifiers, Disney has continued to raise the bar on running a youth soccer tournament and future installments promise to be even more rewarding for its participants.





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