Atlantic Cup: Coaches praise quality of tournament [Photo gallery included]
By Jimmy LaRoue
As he greeted teams arriving for their championship and finalists medals, Atlantic Cup tournament director Sonny Landry joked that he sold his soul to get the gorgeous weather that graced Virginia Beach for Virginia Rush Soccer Club’s fall closeout event.
From the teams that drove across the state and from the Outer Banks to get to Virginia Beach, to those hailing from more northern climes, they enjoyed the warmer weather and expressed praise for the Atlantic Cup setup, along with the quality of the fields at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex and the high class of the accommodations at the nearby Founders Inn.
The nearly 160 teams that came to Virginia Beach over the weekend were able to get in their last matches of the fall outdoor season as temperatures rose to the mid-60s for each day.
Some teams, such as the Rheems Extreme U-11 girls from the Elizabethtown area of eastern Pennsylvania, saved up all year just to come down to the tournament and were able to enjoy the Holiday Parade at the Beach while eating a team dinner at one of the many oceanfront restaurants, and also got to see the Holiday Lights at the Beach along the boardwalk. It was a special weekend, in particular, for the team, as they devoted it to being a father-daughter weekend.
Others, like the Pennsylvania Rush Nike U-16 girls, came to Virginia Beach to support another Rush club, and came away with a championship for their efforts. It’s the third year the club has been there, and the first year for this particular team, according to coach Kim Gerhart.
“I love the facility; it’s a well-run tournament,” Gerhart said. “You can’t ask for a better facility than what they have here.”
The Atlantic Cup also supported the Wounded Warrior Project, with 20 percent of the tournament proceeds going to the organization, something not lost on parents and coaches at the event, including Northern Virginia SC Majestics 97 coach Katie Hollander, saying the cause is “near and dear” to her heart.
For the Stafford Soccer Revolution 99G White, the team wrapped up its first-ever season with better-than-expected results, as it finished as finalists in the Under-13 Gold bracket. The players’ joy was evident as they posed for photos with their finalist trophy and “silverware”, as the team’s coach, Jason Travis, dubbed them.
“It’s a great tournament,” Travis said. “The tournament director, Sonny Landry, organized a great event. Our hotel, that was set up by VA Rush, it was a great hotel–the Founders Inn. It was a really world class event. We really enjoyed it. The fields were pretty good, the officiating went really well and the competition, they pushed us. Every team pushed us, and it was worth something, and we all had a good time, including the coach.”