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Global Jan 19, 2016

Manhattan Kickoff Classic, NESS merge to create mega-showcase

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With the recent news that the Manhattan Kickoff Classic has merged with the National Elite Soccer Showcase (NESS), youth soccer clubs in the Northeast and Tri-State regions no longer have to decide between the two high-profile showcase tournaments and instead will send their teams to the expanded mega-event which will keep the Manhattan name.

Applications close on Wednesday, January 27 for the event which will be played March 4-6 featuring a vast array of high-achieving U.S. and international teams in front of some 250 or more college coaches.

Mayors CupOne of the largest and most competitive tournaments in the country, the 2015 Manhattan Kickoff Classic received over 1,100 applications, 960 of which were accepted with limited field space being the primary factor keeping the remaining teams off the list. The Under-8 through U-18 boys and girls event hosted by Manhattan Soccer Club featured more than 70 reigning State Cup champion squads in addition to US Youth Soccer and US Club Soccer Regional and National champions.

For going on 15 years, Albertson Soccer Club and Paul Riley Soccer School have brought premier level showcase action to Long Island with the National Elite Women’s Soccer Showcase (NEWSS) held annually around Thanksgiving weekend, and more recently expanded to the spring with NESS to also include boys divisions.

“It is a privilege to work with such a renowned tournament and club as Manhattan SC,” said NEWSS and NESS Tournament Director Kevin Koehn. “We look forward to adding our knowledge, support and strength of our Albertson Fury and Academy teams to boost the quality of competition.”

“This relationship enables both groups to use their strengths, add valuable input and ensure that the Manhattan Kickoff Classic reaches its objective of being the first must-attend showcase of the year,” Koehn continued.

NESS, a small but very high level college showcase tournament played on Long Island, generally limits its acceptance list to around 70 total teams. Attending teams almost exclusively compete in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), U.S. Soccer Development Academy, or other top leagues such as the Eastern Development Program (EDP), New York Premier League and New England Premiership, among others.

NESS will not only contribute additional field space but also an infusion of premier talent to an already loaded collection of teams at Manhattan. The merger with Manhattan and NESS provides the new event with more than 100 total turf fields as well as top referees from multiple states accompanied by National Assessors, State Assessors and Referee Administrators, as part of MSC’s Referee Identification and Development Program.

“This alliance further solidifies our commitment to making the Manhattan Kick-Off Classic one of the very top tournaments in the United States,” said Manhattan SC Tournament Director Jason Kahan. “We look forward to working with NESS to continue our upward arc, ensuring that every aspect of the Kickoff Classic continues to evolve.”

The 2016 event will seek to revitalize the early spring tournament season which was largely wiped out in 2015 due to severe snowstorms throughout the East Coast and much of the country, causing dozens of full and partial cancellations.

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