Las Vegas a growing soccer destination for youth and adults, PDL on the way
Las Vegas isn’t just a destination for casinos and resorts anymore. Soccer has made impressive strides in the Sin City sports market, never in evidence more than on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Eight hundred thirty-three teams arrived for three tournaments this past weekend, split between the Las Vegas Sports Academy-hosted Vegas Cup (580 teams) and two men’s amateur tournaments, King Cup and the Men’s Friendship Tournament. Games dotted the city all weekend, with multiple field complexes hosting matches from more than one tournament.
King Cup drew 211 teams, all aged over-35 and older, spanning the United States and Canada (and one team from Naucalpan, Mexico). The Friendship Tournament included a more modest 42 teams, mainly from California. Vegas Cup’s youth team participants were more localized to the Southwest, although clubs from around North America sent teams.
The Friendship Tournament was played at the Silver Bowl Soccer Complex, which includes 10 all-grass fields. The other two tournaments were played primarily on turf fields across several of Las Vegas’ impressive public parks developments, including the 11-field Charlie Kellogg and Joe Zaher Sports Complex.
Over the next couple months, soccer momentum should only pick up in Las Vegas. The Mayor’s Cup International Showcase (Feb. 15-17) includes multiple teams from outside the U.S., including professional clubs Club Tijuana and UNAM Pumas of Mexico. The Players College Showcase (March 14-16 and 21-23) is one of the premier recruiting events in the country.
In summer, Vegas takes a step closer to realizing its goal of bringing professional soccer to the area. The Las Vegas Mobsters open their inaugural Premier Development League season at University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ home stadium, Peter Johann Memorial Field.
The PDL team will compete with Las Vegas Stallions FC of the National Premier Soccer League, although the NPSL is generally considered to be a lower level than the PDL. Two indoor teams also play in Vegas: the Professional Arena Soccer League’s Las Vegas Legends and Premier Arena Soccer League’s Las Vegas Knights, both owned by Meir Cohen.