Richmond Strikers raise stakes with Capital Fall Classic
By Charles Boehm
This Capital Fall Classic kicks off in Richmond, Va. on Saturday, and before a single ball has been kicked, a new wrinkle has already added an extra layer of intensity to the Richmond Strikers’ flagship fall tournament.
The Strikers’ most famous event is the massive Jefferson Cup in March, which has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most competitive tourneys, with far more teams seeking entry than there are places for.
So the Strikers upped the ante by extending Jeff Cup entry to the winners of all premier divisions at the Capital Fall Classic. As intended, the number and quality of CFC applicants has ramped up rapidly.
“A lot of these games are teams that have tried to get into the Jeff Cup and for one reason or another, haven’t been able to,” explained Strikers assistant director of tournaments Steve d’Adamo, “or the timing doesn’t work, or they’ve acquired new players but don’t have the record, or they’re new teams and really don’t have the history, but they’re good enough to play in the Jeff Cup.
“And this is one of the ways that they can actually prove that they’re a quality team that can compete with Jeff Cup participants.”
d’Adamo noted that an increasing number of CFC participants are traveling to Richmond as entire clubs. This also includes several Elite Clubs National League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams, both of which will play league matches concurrently with the CFC.
“The word is starting to spread about the automatic qualifying for the Jefferson Cup,” he said. “So our top brackets appear to be very strong. And we have a lot of clubs that are coming down as a club, versus just one-off teams. And I think there’s going to be a really good environment and atmosphere for the weekend.”
The tournament is now split into two weekends, with boys action taking place this week followed by girls play next weekend. Each will feature between 150 and 200 teams.
Action will be split between five locations across Virginia’s capital city, with the host club’s Striker Park facility and the River City Sportsplex, formerly known as SportsQuest, serving as the main home bases.
The River City Sportsplex’s 12 synthetic-turf fields offer ideal scheduling flexibility should foul weather become an issue, but that’s far from the case this weekend. Richmond’s forecast calls for mostly sunny conditions with temperatures ranging as high as a balmy 70 degrees.