CAMARGO BROTHERS SPEAK OUT on Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup presented by Nike
This summer promises to be an exciting youth soccer tournament season. One of the first tournaments of the season, Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup, is celebrating its 24th year. Here is an exclusive interview with the two brothers who run this tournament and have watched it grow over the last two decades.
This will be the 24th Cerritos Memorial Day Challenge Cup and Alex and Walter Camargo are striving to make this the best Memorial Day Weekend experience for all of their participants and their families.
With over 750 teams participating last year, this youth soccer tournament is easily the one of the most successful and well known in the country. It is no wonder the The deadline for registration is April 30.tournament’s tagline is Southern California’s #1 Memorial Day Tournament. The deadline for team registration is April 30.
SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo interviewed the two brothers — Alex Camargo and Walter Camargo — on the upcoming 2018 Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup.
Diane Scavuzzo: This is the 24th Annual Event — what was this tournament like when it started?
Alex Camargo: We started with only 150 teams and now we host over 750 boys and girls teams with 15 venues and 98 total fields. For those of you who have had the pleasure of knowing our father, Oscar Camargo this is yet another fine example of his foresight, energy and love of the game.
Walter Camargo: Yes, the Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup is a small part of our father’s legacy and we are committed to furthering his vision by providing players the best possible opportunity to display their soccer skills, while at the same time sharing the Memorial Day weekend holiday with their relatives and hopefully, new found friends.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your roles?
Alex Camargo: We serve as Co-Directors for the tournament. We work on everything as a team. Of course, we each have our strengths and our different areas of expertise, but we partner well to make sure all facets of the tournament provide a great experience for our participants.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you like working together?
Walter Camargo: We love it. The synergy that comes from our family bond is like nothing else.
Alex Camargo: Of course, leading a tournament this size is not without its challenges, but we’re able to communicate clearly and directly about everything, which is a huge asset. We feel incredibly lucky to do what we do as family.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many teams do you expect?
Alex Camargo: Last year’s event hosted more than 750 teams from over a dozen states and four countries. We expect an even greater turnout this year.
Walter Camargo: We’re excited about the reputation and quality of the teams that are coming. There are big clubs everywhere you turn.
Each year, we have coaches and families tell us how much they appreciated the chance to play against teams they’d only seen online or heard about over the years.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where have teams traveled from in the past?
Walter Camargo: Almost all the Western states are represented, and we’re drawing more interest from the Midwest and East than ever before.
You wouldn’t believe how many teams around the country connect with us — and beyond our borders too.
Alex Camargo: It is a thrill to host teams every year from France, Mexico and Canada. This year, we are adding Cameroon to the list.
Soccer fans should come to a match with one of our international teams, and hear the different languages on the pitch from the coaches and players and also watch the different styles of play. It is a special experience.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are the player development benefits from playing in a tournament like Cerritos Memorial?
Walter Camargo: Players grow by leaps and bounds from playing in a professional environment with balanced, quality competition.
Teams can get used to the opponents in their area, so our competition offers a huge, diverse pool of talent.
Players learn from the different tactics and communication styles they see. They also bond over the experience of playing in a tournament of this scale and scope.
Do you think elite players in the DA miss playing in tournaments like this?
Alex Camargo: The opportunity to compete against teams from all over the Western United States, and international teams, is a special challenge.
To be fair, the DA provides incredible development opportunities for the players selected. But, that only represents a small number of players.
The DA is a small percentage of teams across the country.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your goal for the tournament?
Alex Camargo: The Cerritos Memorial Challenge Cup aims to provide a competitive, exciting environment that benefits players of any ability level where they can showcase themselves in front of college coaches.
The DA limits their teams to play only one game a day. At our event, you can play up to 6 games in three days.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is special about competing at Silverlakes Sports Complex?
Walter Camargo: First and foremost, the playing surfaces are always top-notch. Second, the infrastructure supporting the games is excellent; there is ample parking, clear signage, team benches, canopies and sports medicine personnel. Not to mention, our shared vision with Silverlakes President, RJ Reynolds and his support staff of creating an unforgettable experience.
Alex Camargo: Yes, and beyond the game-specific support, Silverlakes has a ton of other things our participants love.
The outdoor area has good food and TVs with matches going on all the time; the new restaurant and bar is excellent and centrally located; and the venue in the back — with the lake! — is the perfect place for college coaches, club directors and coaches to hang out and socialize. There isn’t a finer setting for soccer in the entire country.
Diane Scavuzzo: Can people buy fan gear in advance? Pre-order?
Alex Camargo: Yes, Soccer.com and Nike are our official sponsors. You can pre-order gear online at our tournament website.
Soccer.com is also providing a huge store and will be selling tournaments merchandise and more during the tournament weekend.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many college coaches do you expect?
Walter Camargo: We expect over 60 programs to be represented, and with good variety too: all three NCAA Divisions plus NAIA, NCCAA, and more. We take care to resource our visiting college coaches with reliable, updated schedules and a VIP area with meals, refreshments and other amenities.
Diane Scavuzzo: What tips can you share with our readers for achieving peak performance at the tournament?
Alex Camargo: First, show up to field ready to play. Teams work hard to prepare for the competition, and to arrange travel and lodging.
It’s important to commit to playing your game from the opening whistle.
Second, focus on your togetherness as a team. There are lots of teams, fields and fun things to do, but the best part of weekends like this is the chance to grow together.
Third, continue to do the things that got you here: listen to your coaching staff, take care of nutrition and rest, play the way you’ve trained to play.
Diane Scavuzzo: Please tell our readers about the tournament’s mobile app — this is very cool.
Walter Camargo: This is one of our best features that we’ve added in recent years.
The TGS app allows participants and college coaches to access schedules, scores, brackets, field updates, weather conditions, and more from one place on your smartphone.
It’s free to download and use — there’s no “premium features” you have to pay for. It’s just another way we want to give participants a top-notch experience!