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Tournaments Aug 14, 2012

U.S. Youth Soccer trying something new with Presidents Cup

By Roger Gonzalez

The National Presidents Cup, formerly known as the Directors Cup, serves one main purpose on the youth soccer circuit. Developed and run by U.S. Youth Soccer, it’s a national event that allows some of the more ambitious, up-and-coming teams in the nation to do battle.

Rob Martella, the Director of Operations for U.S. Youth Soccer, recently took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss this interesting competition with The Soccer Wire.

“It was created back in 2003,” Martella said of the cup. “It was created for a set of teams that we would refer to as a second-tier team, teams that always do well at state cup competitions but always lose in the semifinals or finals.”

The goal is simple.

“To create opportuntiies for that second-tier team that does not get the chance to play in a national event,” Martella said.

It has been under its current name for the last four years after taking a two-year break from being the Directors Cup, as new ideas led to a new-look tournament.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Martella said. “We have gotten a lot of positive reviews. We have other groups saying, ‘Hey, what about the teams that lose in the quarterfinals?’”

Teams have to be registered with U.S. Youth Soccer to be eligible. Martella recommends for top clubs that aren’t registered to do so, as the benefits are potentially massive.

“It provides opportunities for other players,” he said. “With more opportunities, maybe [a college coach finds] that player that has been on a club team that never makes it out of State Cup. Still a quality player, maybe makes an impact while we have some scouts there and then they say, ‘Hey, where has this kid been?’”

Each year, it’s getting bigger. And tor Martella, it’s only going to continue to increase.

“Our state [associations] have really wrapped their arms around it. They realize the benefit of the membership of doing this event. We have our full-time communications staff that is constantly doing releases, updates. We are constantly educating the states throughout the year with the benefits.

“It’s been very successful. I feel that we are going to have more teams by the year 2015 than we do at the national championships.”