Richmond Strikers’ Capital Fall Classic set to host over 650 teams at 2021 event
By Adam Schwager
SoccerWire Staff Writer
Published in Partnership with the Richmond Strikers
The Richmond Strikers, hosts of the nationally-renowned Jefferson Cup, are hosting the second-largest event of their annual tournament series, the Capital Fall Classic, over the coming three weekends in Richmond, Va.
This year’s tournament will feature around 650 teams, a new record for the annual event. Teams are coming in from across the region, representing the states of Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and throughout the host state of Virginia.
“(The high turnout) means that we’re recognized and we run really good events,” said Richmond Strikers Director of Tournaments Steve D’Adamo, adding that the Capital Fall Classic Boys Weekend has reached a record size in 2021, while the girls’ side continues to increase in competitive quality on an annual basis as well.
The field of attendees includes teams from some of the East Coast’s top clubs, including representatives of renowned regional and national leagues, such as the Club Champions League (CCL) and Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and ECNL Regional Leagues.
The Girls Weekend and the Boys Weekend all include a tiered flight system based on team strength to create the most competitive tournament possible. Each age group is broken into tiers ranging from Premier to Superior to Classic. Any team that wins the Premier Division of any of the age groups in the Boys Weekend or Girls Weekend will be granted an invitation to participate in this Spring’s 2022 Jefferson Cup.
“(These) teams are going to end the season on a high note because whether or not they win or lose the game, they’re going to be competitive,” D’Adamo said. “(We really take pride in) our management of the event, our organization of the event and then making sure teams come in and are comfortable and excited about playing like-minded teams and the same level teams.”
The tournament will be hosted at quality fields in Glen Allen, Henrico, Midlothian and Richmond. Athletic trainers will be on-site 45 minutes prior to the first kickoff of the earlier game of the day and will remain throughout the day to help patch up athletes and assess potential injuries.
This year the Capital Fall Classic is partnering with player tracking company PlayermakerUNO to help run individual leaderboards for different metrics. Any player using a PlayermakerUNO device, which can be purchased at a discounted price through the Capital Fall Classic website, will be able to compare themselves in different metrics against their peers.
“It measures a lot of different metrics like max kicking velocity, max speed, number of touches on the ball,” D’Adamo said. “We’re promoting the product and trying to create a competition where the kids that are wearing it can go and look at leaderboards and see where they are. And obviously, the top players will get a prize of some sort at the end of the weekend.”
In addition to the competition, U11-U15 goalkeepers will have a special opportunity to participate in a goalkeeper clinic that will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the Friday before their respective competition weekend. The clinic, hosted by Own The Goal: Elite Goalkeeper Training, will cost $75 with online registration closing the Wednesday before the event. Spots are only open to U11-U15 goalkeepers playing in the Boys Weekend and Girls Weekend.
Own The Goal is run by Celia Mosier, the director of goalkeeper for Richmond United, Richmond Strikers and the goalkeeper coach at Randolph-Macon College. She has coached multiple NCAA Division I goalkeepers, as well as NWSL goalkeeper Michelle Betos, currently of Racing Louisville. The clinic will cover footwork, handling, diving, positioning and angle play.
“It’s a great asset for our club to have but it’s also a great asset for any of these kids trying to come in and trying to get better as a goalkeeper from the outside,” D’Adamo said. “(Mosier) does a great job with it.”
The Richmond Strikers have released a tournament guide for those attending to help them navigate the fields, find places to eat, buy apparel and post to social media. The Capital Fall Classic will be following several protocols to help eliminate concerns about COVID-19, including mandatory temperature checks before attending and no handshakes after games.