Latest winter blast causes another round of soccer tournament cancellations
The latest winter storm to blast the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions has stymied travel plans and left many fields unplayable, forcing another round of preseason youth soccer tournaments to cancel their events.
With six or more inches of snow blanketing Northern Virginia, and ice, freezing rain and snow covering the rest of the state, the Jefferson Cup Boys Weekend, Annandale Premier Cup Boys Weekend, Arlington ASIST Girls Weekend and Virginia Rush Champions Cup among others became the latest events to miss out on some or all of their games.
Despite tournament staff members working through various options to play at least some of the scheduled games, the decision to cancel the events was ultimately about safety, given dangerous travel conditions for hundreds of teams traveling from Northern states like Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts among others, which were hit with well over a foot of snow on Thursday. Local travel conditions across the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area remain treacherous in many places as well, while snow and ice removal from turf and natural grass fields is both risky for the health of the field and inaccessible in many cases.
“It’s very unfortunate all these events have been cancelled, so much work and planning goes into each event for the teams and the directors,” said Virginian Elite Showcase Tournament Director and WAGS Administrator Dotty Talbott. “When they get cancelled it’s disheartening for everyone.”
“It’s really disappointing any time you have to cancel a tournament, but fortunately cancellations due to snow cover are generally accepted by everyone,” said Potomac Memorial Tournament Director Arnold Tarzy. “I can understand when people want to debate if a tournament is cancelled due to rainfall, but when there’s snow cover it’s hard to argue. It’s upsetting that these tournaments had to cancel but I’m happy for them that it wasn’t met with much debate.”
This weekend’s cancellations around the region are the latest, but far from the only tournaments to be snowed out in part or in full over the course of the preseason. Both weekends of the Ultimate Cup were cancelled entirely, while the Arlington ASIST Boys Weekend, Loudoun Soccer Showcase, Virginia Legacy President’s Day Cup/Showcase and PWSI President’s Day Showcase each had to cancel or rearrange a day’s worth of games due to snow or dangerously low temperatures.
Two high-level events in New York, the Manhattan Kickoff Classic and National Elite Soccer Showcase, were cancelled last weekend as well. Even the ECNL Texas event couldn’t escape the winter weather, as the Dallas, Ft. Worth area was pounded with an abnormal late-winter snowstorm causing the event to be shut down after just a couple hours of play on the opening morning.
“Cancelling a tournament is without any question the toughest decision we have to make, I can sympathize with the decisions that the directors for these winter tournaments had to make,” said Kennedy Torres, President of Maryland Rush Montgomery which partners with Alliance SC and the Maryland SoccerPlex in running the August Cup and Rush for the Cup. “I know it’s not easy but at the end of the day the players’ and parents’ safety is our No. 1 concern. We have to worry not only about the playing conditions, but we have to be very sensitive to out-of-town teams who may be driving or flying in.”
“When we coach a team we have to worry about practice and at times have to play the role of weatherman, but that only impacts one team and their parents,” Torres said. “Multiply that by 400-500 teams and our concern grows by that much.”
With forecasts projecting a major upward trend in temperatures over the course of the next week, upcoming tournaments and league kickoffs appear to be in the clear with regards to the snow.