Celebrating 50 Years of ASA: Tournaments

Leading up to the Golden Gala—ASA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on March 26, 2022—we are sharing interesting historical facts about the history of ASA. Check in each week to learn about the history of the club, what the early years looked like, who was involved and much more! [Here are the first weeks in case you missed them; Programs, Safe Places to Play, Access4All, Rec League, Org Structure, ASA Branding].

If you ask former soccer players about their memories from youth soccer tournaments they often include tales of emotional highs and lows, lessons in overcoming adversity and most of all, having fun off the field with teammates. Tournaments offer teams an opportunity to compete in a fun environment against teams and clubs they’ve don’t often play against. Generally hosted over several days, tournaments foster team bonding and create an atmosphere of excitement.

In 2015 we launched our first tournament—hosted in March and aptly named Alexandria Soccer Kickoff (ASK)—for two reasons. First, we wanted our Academy soccer teams to play great pre-season games before league play kicked off in April and second, we wanted to reduce barriers for our families. By hosting high quality tournaments locally we reduce travel, transportation, lodging and food costs for ASA families.

In March of 2013 we organized a scrimmage fest for a handful of local teams, hired referees and created a paper bracket. The ASK tournament grew out of this original scrimmage fest!

In 2016 ASK split into two weekends with boys and girls competing separately and in 2018 we transitioned to three weekends (like it is today), with a full sided weekend and boys and girls small sided weekends.

In 2016 we also launched the Columbus Day Tournament for ages U9-U12 as a way to offer a quality fall tournament, early in the season, for our youngest Academy participants. We are excited to announce that we are launching a NEW fall competition to replace this tournament — beginning in 2022 the Heritage Cup will now offer high level fall competition for U9-U19 teams. Join us this year!

Feature Weekend and Futsal Cup are two additional competition weekends that offer teams great local opportunities. Feature Weekend has grown and developed since 2018 and now offers high school aged teams a showcase format weekend of games in front of college coaches (our recent 2022 tournament had more coaches present than ever before!).

The 2020 Futsal Cup was held at the DC Armory with six courts in action at once.

Futsal Cup, also launched in 2018, has quickly grown to become one of the largest futsal tournaments in the country. As a newer sport there are not as many futsal competition opportunities and so it made sense to offer a platform for multiple levels of play. We have exciting plans to continue growing this tournament in the coming years.

There was a bit of a learning curve for us, as demonstrated by the soccer ball in the tournament logo for the first two years.

And finally, in 2020 our Recreational team created the Harvest Cup, giving SFL (non-travel) teams the opportunity for a postseason tournament! This tournament was met with exciting support and we’ve expanded to add additional age groups.

An additional benefit of hosting tournaments is the ability to offer weekend employment to our high school aged participants. Over the years we’ve hired older participants to work as facility coordinators during tournaments for younger players! They answer questions, report scores, ensure fields are setup and provide overall support. We love the cyclical nature of this arrangement and kids who play one weekend are able to earn money and work during another weekend. In 2022 we will host eight weekends of tournament play in Alexandria (this includes a small 3v3 tournament we host in June in partnership with 3v3 Live).

Learn more about ASA Tournaments and join us in 2022! (Interested in refereeing? Coaching? Sponsoring? Getting involved? Drop us a line! [email protected]).

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