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NCAA ruling hurts summer tournaments

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: June 29, 2020

The fallout of NCAA extending the recruiting dead period until August 31 is already causing ripple effects in the youth soccer world. 

Over the weekend, Surf Cup directors began notifying teams taking part in the historic youth soccer tournament’s older weekends that the event will now be pushed back until Labor Day Weekend, according to a source. Surf Cup Tournament Directors cited multiple teams dropping out of the tournament given that college coaches would not be able to attend with the new NCAA guidelines in place. 

Surf Cup Directors have not made a public statement regarding the new date. 

Surf Cup is annually held at the end of July and viewed as the first big recruiting event of the new club season. Due to the COVID-19 outbreaks and uncertainty on when teams could resume training, Surf Cup Directors announced in May that this year’s event would take place in August over the course of four weekends - in an effort to cut down on spectators at players at the fields at one time.

Following the news last week that NCAA was extending the recruiting dead period until the end of August, teams began to discuss withdrawing from the event. Without college coaches able to attend and scout, Surf Cup was forced to reevaluate the timing of the event - as one of the draws of the showcase is the number of college coaches who attend and the successful recruiting stories from previous editions. 

There are countless stories from college coaches discovering under recruited gems during games at Surf, but Washington Men's Soccer Head Coach Jamie Clark stumbling upon Cristian Roldan (the U.S. Men’s National Team and Seattle Sounders midfielder) at the event is probably the most iconic story. 

Without college coaches in attendance, Surf Cup Directors tried to get creative with making the tournament still have an appeal to clubs all across the state and country. The offer to live stream some games was suggested, but there is still another hurdle for any youth tournament in California. 

Surf Cup Directors cited California Governor Gavin Newsom’s lack of assurance for whether the state would have the green light for youth sports competition by August for another reason why they decided to postpone the event, according to an email sent to one team planning to attend in August. Surf Cup did say the city and county officials had been working to get the event approved for August. 

While the NWSL returned to action over the weekend and MLS will soon follow, the return of youth soccer on a normal scale looks like it’s going to have to wait until after summer. 

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