Re-branded DMV Premier Cup bolsters PWSI’s tournament lineup
Prince William Soccer, Inc. (PWSI) has re-branded its late summer Toys For Tots Tournament as the DMV Premier Cup for 2015, as the club looks to raise the profile of the event as a regional destination for high-level competition and college recruiting.
While PWSI is continuing its long-standing relationship with the Toys For Tots charity, organizers wanted the tournament’s name to reflect the added emphasis on becoming further established as a premier event for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. The 2015 DMV Premier Cup will be played over the course of two weekends, with the 11v11 (U12-U19) being played August 29-30 and 7v7/8v8 (U9-U12) teams participating September 5-6. More than 250 teams are expected to attend.
Along with PWSI’s President’s Day College Showcase held every February with a wide range of top teams from throughout the East Coast, the Premier Cup is being built to become a comparable event in terms of quality but with an even greater focus on bringing in the best local teams to begin with, according to the club’s tournament director, Rob Cheshire.
“Ideally we are trying to draw regionally and nationally but we believe you need to build on your home base first and then build off of it,” Cheshire said. “Unless it’s one of the top four or five tournaments in the country, a lot of people are trying to stay local and not travel quite as much. We have a lot of great clubs around D.C., Maryland and Virginia, it’s one of the best areas in the nation for youth soccer.”
Along with wide representation from the host club’s first, second and third teams in many of the age groups, the 2015 DMV Premier Cup will feature other top teams from many of the area’s stronger clubs, with teams representing the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), Club Champions League (CCL), Virginia Premier League (VPL), and other regional and national leagues.
The Premier Cup will be played on more than 30 turf and Bermuda grass fields on the club’s home facilities at Howison Park, more turf fields at Long Park, and several other county facilities co-operated by the club. Cheshire and other PWSI officials work closely with Prince William County to make decisions in the event of inclement weather, along with working on regular maintenance and upgrades including installing field lights.
“The county has been helping with things like the lights, and they help keep all the fields very well maintained,” Cheshire said. “While most of our fields are county owned, we work very closely with them to make sure every game gets played.”
Toys For Tots, now the Premier Cup, was the first PWSI tournament to be played back in 1996. The PWSI Tournament Series also features the aforementioned President’s Day Showcase, the well-attended Icebreaker and the Holiday Shootout, which began in December 2013 as a niche event for U9-U12 travel teams, specializing in 7v7 and 8v8 competition. The event also includes participation in the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive.
The Icebreaker, a staple event of the series, is the largest with a typical field of more than 450 teams between the two weekends. the spring kickoff tournament will enter its 20th year in March 2016, and is known for having a wide range of levels of play, offering brackets appropriate for most clubs’ first, second, third, or even fourth teams. A similar reflection is expected at the Premier Cup, as clubs prepare for the fall season.
Registration for the 2015 Premier Cup closes on Friday, July 31, with schedules and brackets being finalized shortly after.