Soccerloco Surf Thanksgiving Tournament 2014
Thanksgiving Day 2014 is on Thursday, November 27th and is a national holiday typically celebrated with enormous gastronomical fanfare. This famous turkey day is now a family holiday spent on soccer fields across America.
A new tradition has emerged from Thanksgiving’s gluttony – It is a tradition of competing in a soccer tournament over the holiday weekend. Millions of American families enjoy being a part of the most played youth sport in America, and the beginning of the holiday season is a great time to congregate on the sidelines of beautiful green soccer fields and cheer for the children playing on the field.
In America’s finest city, the soccerloco Surf Thanksgiving Tournament gives soccer loving families a wonderful excuse to spend time outside in the California sunshine as youth soccer players compete to earn the title of champion. Winning this Thanksgiving Tournament provides Winners of the U9 thru U14 flight 1 age groups with the very special privilege of guaranteed acceptance into the Summer 2015 prestigious Surf Cup.
Diane Scavuzzo interviewed Art Ramirez, soccerloco Surf Thanksgiving Tournament Director, to discover more on this highly ranked holiday soccer tournament.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did the Surf Thanksgiving Tournament start?
Art Ramirez: Surf Thanksgiving Tournament 2014 will be the 8th year and we are expecting over 400 teams to compete this year.
Youth soccer teams from Northern California, Hawaii, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Texas, Alaska and as far away as Arkansas will be coming to compete for their chance to become Surf Thanksgiving Tournament Champions.
Internationally, we have the world renowned Futeca Camp Elite from Guatemala bringing their highly competitive Boy’s teams.
Diane Scavuzzo: How competitive is the youth soccer tournament?
Art Ramirez: For the Flight 1 Teams, this is the most competitive Thanksgiving tournament in America. The top elite teams participate in the Surf Thanksgiving Tournament and each year, more and more highly competitive teams apply.
For the Flight 2 bracket, the Surf Thanksgiving Tournament provides a fantastic opportunity to play out of the area teams and enjoy great soccer.
The Flight 2 is still very competitive. We actively promote out of state/area teams to come to glorious San Diego for this holiday weekend. The entire family enjoys the weather, the beaches, the local attractions like the Wild Animal Park and the World Famous Zoo, and the teams enjoy the competition.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where in San Diego will this tournament be held? How many venues do you have?
Art Ramirez: This year, our tournament will be the first soccer event held at the beautiful, new SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside. In total, the tournament will be hosted at 10 various venues across San Diego County. Each team is guaranteed 3 games so the competition will take place on over 54 fields.
Diane Scavuzzo: Everyone in the soccer community is excited that the brand-new SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside will be opening soon. What can people expect?
Art Ramirez: The SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, California was spearheaded by Pat Collins and Mike Connerley, has 22 pristine soccer fields. I can’t wait to see the players on these fields. New sod was just installed last month and the fields will be of the highest standard.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is playing in a tournament now part of a new tradition for soccer loving families?
Art Ramirez: Holiday tournaments have always been part of the youth soccer landscape. There are three big benefits to tournament life. First, it is an opportunity to test skills learned in practice. Playing in a tournament with multiple games over the course of the weekend really cements the ideas and skills learned from training.
As an athlete, you can learn from mistakes in one game and have the opportunity to make corrections within a few hours in your next game.
Secondly, soccer is a team sport. Spending time with your teammates over the course of the Thanksgiving weekend and playing “competitive” soccer teaches kids a lot about themselves as well as their teammates. Being able to work as a group towards a common goal over a few days is a great experience and one that is perfect for this holiday.
Finally, time spent with family together on the soccer field is awesome. It is always amazing to see grandparents, siblings, and entire extended families coming into town and cheering on a player. This is priceless and a brilliant way to create memories.
Those treasured moments of success or of perseverance through defeat are all a part of life. Whenever you can share these experiences with the ones you love, it only makes them more memorable.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you have children who play soccer? Will they be playing in this tournament?
Art Ramirez: Yes, I have 2 daughters – one is 7 years old and the other is two years older. They both will be playing in the Thanksgiving Tournament. My older one is very motivated to win one of the medals that Daddy ordered. At the same time, they are looking forward to their grandparents carting them around to their games. They know that I will swing by to watch them, but the are excited about convincing “grandpa” to buy them Icee’s after each game. Playing soccer over the Thanksgiving weekend is part of our family tradition.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about being a tournament director?
Art Ramirez: The best thing about being the tournament director is recreating the top qualities of successful tournaments I played in or watched over the last 25 years.
I took over this tournament from Brenda Sampiere, Surf Club VP-Operations. She handed me a successfully growing tournament. My objective has been to expand the tournament quality by improving on what makes tournaments enjoyable and fun; best match ups from group play all the way to the finals on quality fields with good referees. When it comes to the down-time experience, I want the families to have a great time when off the field; with interactive events for the kids plus professional soccer players signing autographs and Thanksgiving dinner for our out-of-town teams.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is this a stay-to-play tournament? What does that mean and how does that benefit players?
Art Ramirez: Yes, this is a stay-to-play tournament for teams outside of a 70 mile radius. This is a benefit for players because we do not want our teams spending excessive time on the road during a holiday weekend. Also, many families use this particular weekend to turn it into a family vacation to explore San Diego or visit family.
Diane Scavuzzo: I know many soccer families with grown up kids who are now in college. They have all shared with me how much they miss going to a soccer tournament on Thanksgiving weekend — and are thankful for the time they spent on the field!