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Tournaments Mar 16, 2013

Long-distance travel the norm for many far-flung Jefferson Cup teams

By Amber Dunlap

RICHMOND, Va. — Teams from far and wide find their way to Richmond every March for the Jefferson Cup, and this 2013 edition has been no exception.

For many teams at this tournament, frequent long-distance travel is just a part of the game, with teams flying in from Georgia, Massachusetts, Florida and even Canada, just to name a few, to play in front of the college coaches that come out in droves.

Weather becomes a very important factor in the overall Jefferson Cup experience, even long before game day, as a few unlucky teams experienced in the lead-up to the boys stage of the tournament last weekend, with winter storms disrupting flight travel.

But fair weather was the norm ahead of Girls Weekend. As one mother from Georgia-based Under-17 team Tophat 14 Gold was thankful to report, the trip here was “uneventful and pretty easy.”

For some, travel isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity. Speaking more on the subject of distance travel, a parent from Florida-based Greater Boca United 96/97 Gold said, “You’ve got to get out for people to see you. You go to a tournament seven hours away and you’re in Tallahassee. That doesn’t really help us.”

Shortly after this tournament, Boca United 97/97 Gold are off to New Jersey, then Colorado.

During Friday’s showcase matches at West Creek I had the opportunity to brush shoulders with similarly devoted soccer moms and dads hailing from near and far. Overall, the general consensus from the parents was a very nonchalant attitude regarding the miles they’ve traveled to be here. It was very apparent that long-distance travel was just another part of the game and it has paid off for these teams.

Many were proud to share that nearly half of their squad had already made verbal commitments to top NCAA Division I universities and that the rest are here to further showcase their play to coaches they’ve spoken to already. All in all it would seem that there are high hopes amongst the players and parents to come out of this Jefferson Cup with a few more college commitments. With two full days of play left, there’s plenty of time to make that goal a reality.

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