WAGS Tournament: Competition’s president reflects on weekend
By Roger Gonzalez
The 37th Annual WAGS Rael Vodicka Memorial Tournament united some of the continent’s top talent, with 16 states and two countries represented. Nearly 400 teams from Under-11 to U-19 battled on the pitch at over 20 locations across Northern Virginia.
With nearly 100 more teams than last year and scores of college coaches on hand, it’s safe to say the competition went well.
“The turnout was phenomenal,” said WAGS president Kathie Diapoulis.
Top-ranked teams and top players, including the No. 2 player in the 2014 class, Katherine Cousins of the Richmond Kickers U-17 squad, were in attendance.
“Over the past three years, we have had a little bit of difficulty,” said Diapoulis of getting top teams. “We seemed to have really become a Region I tournament. This year, it seems like we have gotten the top talent back in. That is a direct result of Elite Tournaments and our association with NSCAA [National Soccer Coaches Association of America].
“I think it shows we are on our way back up.”
The weather over the weekend was a major concern, but the tournament was able to function as planned as umbrellas and rain coats weren’t called upon much.
“We were watching it hourly,” Diapoulis said. “It looks like it cooperated. A little rain never hurt anybody.”
College coaches came from the ACC, CAA and other top conferences, and it was a solid scouting turnout overall, according to the president.
“Very good turnout. A lot better than past years,” she said.
With the weekend now over, Diapoulis praised George Mason and those who came for the show that many witnessed. Great soccer, a great time and stellar weather: hard to ask for more.
“There is not a whole bunch of space in Northern Virginia for new complexes up and coming,” she said. “I think we took advantage of the best fields. “[I’m] thrilled. Absolutely thrilled.”