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Boys Mar 12, 2013

Jefferson Cup: Boys Weekend dodges bad weather, produces excellent matches

By Charles Boehm

The Boys Weekend of the 2013 Jefferson Cup played out in successful fashion in Richmond, Va. over the weekend, overcoming last week’s snowy visit from a late-winter storm to produce three days of good soccer in front of college scouts and sizeable clusters of fans.

The storm system dubbed “Saturn” blanketed central Virginia with rain and sheets of wet snowfall on Wednesday, saturating the tournament’s grass fields. Bad weather also contributed to flight troubles for at least one team visiting from out of state, as Arizona’s Valparaiso United ’95 Under-18 team had several players stranded in the Cleveland airport on their journey from Phoenix.

But the host club, Richmond Strikers, adapted on the fly, relocating many Friday and Saturday games to artificial-turf fields at Stratton Park, the River City Sportsplex and other venues.

Howling winds and cold temperatures tested the fortitude of participants in the U-16, -17 and -18 showcase divisions on Friday, but conditions improved markedly on Saturday and Sunday brought glorious sunshine and highs around 60 degrees.

“Nature helped us out quite a bit. It hurt us on Wednesday but really helped out on Thursday and Friday,” said Steve D’Adamo, the Strikers’ assistant director of tournaments. “Every team got to play all their games, full-length, and we minimized the amount of coaching conflicts.

“Given the situation, it couldn’t have worked out any better than it did.”

The result was a nearly uninterrupted event for the 400-plus teams from nearly every state in the union, and for NCAA recruiters and casual fans, there was a wealth of quality soccer to take in with impressive performances in the Championship showcase divisions by nationally-ranked teams from the likes of Cincinnati United Premier Crew Juniors (Oh.), Montgomery United SC (Pa.) and OBGC Rangers (Md.).

This year’s Jefferson Cup features 904 teams in all, from the U-10 through U-19 age groups. The Strikers estimate that it draws around 30,000 visitors and adds over $15 million to the local Richmond economy.

The tournament resumes on Friday with the opening of Girls Weekend showcase play.

[ +Find’s full roundup of Jefferson Cup coverage here ]