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Tournaments Oct 29, 2012

Virginian Memorial Day Tournament shaking it up for 2013

By Charles Boehm

One of the biggest Memorial Day Weekend youth tournaments on the East Coast is rebranding for 2013 as it seeks to go toe-to-toe with the nation’s leading showcase events.

The Virginian Memorial Day Soccer Tournament, a 38-year-old institution on the Mid-Atlantic soccer scene, is now the Virginian Elite Showcase, a new title which underlines organizers’ focus on drawing top teams – and college talent scouts – in large numbers. The event is scheduled for May 25-27, 2013 at multiple field sites across Northern Virginia.

“We are really excited – there will be a whole new feel to the tournament,” Dorothy Talbott, the event’s director, told Soccer Wire. “We’ve crafted some excellent partnerships for 2013 and will continue to build on the strong commitment to superior customer service that was our focus this year.

“We’re ready to take our tournament to a different level.”

Talbott took over leadership of the Virginian ahead of its 2012 edition and instituted a number of changes, including digital program books, a three-game format to reduce wear and tear on players, social media outlets to improve communications with participants and online forms for submitting comments about refereeing and other aspects of the event experience.

Now the Virginian is partnering with prominent local club FC Virginia, as well as leading rankings system Gotsoccer.com. Other collaborations with summer camps and overseas touring companies are currently being finalized, and will eventually offer tournament participants a chance to win team prizes.

“Every technical director wants a top-quality experience at every event they go to,” said Terry Foley, FC Virginia’s president and technical director, “and too often clubs from this area have to travel to get that.

“Together we can ensure a first-class experience for every team at the Virginia Elite Showcase.”

The historic tournament has hosted more than 500 teams per year over its four decades of existence – which adds up to nearly 100,000 games in all – and is now seeking to lure as many national and regional championship squads as it can.

One U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship-winning team has already committed to the 2013 Virginian Elite Showcase and several more of similar caliber are expected to confirm their participation in the coming weeks. It’s a central part of Talbott’s push to maintain a high level of competition and make the event a can’t-miss destination for teams from across the U.S. and Canada.

Last spring, Virginian games were held at sites in the Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington and Loudoun counties, and similar locations are expected for 2013. Registration opens on Thursday.

[ +Find application forms and other information on the Virginian Elite Showcase’s official website ]

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