Beach FC Columbus Day Tournament welcomes 300+ teams to Oceanfront for a good cause
One of the longest-running youth soccer events in Virginia continues its tradition this weekend, as the Beach FC Columbus Day Tournament is set to host more than 300 boys and girls representing every region of Virginia, as well as Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, New Jersey and Canada.
The tournament, running annually since the mid-1980s, is always a major draw even on Columbus Day Weekend, among the busiest in youth soccer because of its Virginia Beach Oceanfront location and centralized field sites.
Tournament Director Dennis Blackmore said that while the Oceanfront and field complexes like Hampton Roads Soccer Complex and Princess Anne Athletic Complex are the main attractions for the 300-350 teams that attend every year, they also pride themselves on getting a wide variety of playing styles and structuring the event to best accommodate everyone involved.
Organizers work with coaches who oversee multiple teams, de-conflict their schedules and make sure their teams play close together.
“With clubs being able to send a lot of teams, it’s important for the technical directors and coaches because they can keep that camaraderie and cohesiveness going, being able to see all their teams without much hassle in driving to different sites,” Blackmore said.
Other logistical issues come into play as well, with SAT testing taking place and many schools not having Columbus Day off. The Beach FC tournament staff works with teams to address SAT scheduling issues and plays championship matches on Sunday.
The Beach FC Columbus Day Tournament has partnered with the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Tidewater affiliate, which in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is hosting a 5K race on the Oceanfront on Saturday, Oct. 11. Beach FC Executive Director Steve Danbusky said that although many teams won’t be able to do the 5K, the real purpose is awareness and fundraising.
The tournament will donate a portion of their apparel sales and the club will make be making its own donation, in addition to encouraging attending teams to do the same.
“After their race the Susan G. Komen Foundation will have some presence at the tournament as well, and we’re going to have some pink shoelaces and some different kind of creative team building activities that will raise awareness and money,” Danbusky said. “That’s the biggest thing, is to help that organization that is doing such great work.”
For some, college recruiting will be an important pat of the Virginia Beach Columbus Day Tournament, with several Tidewater area and others colleges primarily from in-state scouting the event. Teams in the U-16, U-17 and U-19 age groups have the opportunity to submit their information into a college player profile book.
“If you take our club or any of the other clubs in the state, most of our kids are going somewhere within a three-hour radius because of the education and athletics programs at these colleges,” Danbusky said. “We do the profile books, we communicate with the colleges, so we’ll see some good representation from at least the Tidewater colleges that can make it down, and some others from the area. The colleges are aware of the level of play at this tournament.”
Competition is for boys and girls with age groups ranging from U-11 to U-19. Games are played across eight locations: Hampton Roads Soccer Complex, Lake Taylor High School, Princess Anne Athletic Complex, Providence Park, Redwing Park, Virginia Wesleyan College, Williams Farm Park and Wyndamere Park.
This year’s participating clubs include: host club Beach FC, OBX Storm, McLean YS, PWSI Courage, Winchester YSC, Chesapeake United SC, Great Falls SC, Richmond Strikers, SAC, Severna Park, Tidewater SA, Virginia Rush, Central Virginia United, Churchland SL, Freedom SC, Gunston, FC Virginia, Valley AFC, Virginia Legacy SC, Yorktown FC, Chantilly SC, Newport New FC, Dynamo SC, FASA, Freedom SC, Leesburg FC, New River United, Saint Mary’s United, Yorktown FC, Premier AC, Old Dominion SC, SOCA, Stafford Soccer, Southwestern Youth Association, Herndon YS, Triangle FC, VISTA, Washington SC, Bolton Wanderers SC, Richmond Kickers, Vienna YS, Virginia Blackwatch SC, Virginia SA, Pipeline SC, Pitt Greenville SA and Towamencin SC.