Surf Cup postponed to December as youth soccer schedule pushed back amid pandemic

Photo by Phillip Brents

From staff reports

The effort to bring youth sports in San Diego County back to the competition level continues but progress remains slow going during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

As with youth baseball, youth soccer returned to the practice field this summer but no actual games were allowed to be played.

The situation continues to be monitored amid the fluidity of these uncertain times, and schedules continue to be amended.

The Surf Cup, which aspires to bring the best teams in the world together each year, initially announced a postponement of this year’s tournament to late September but has since extended that to the end of the calendar year and into 2021.

The twice rescheduled event, which is considered among the top two national recognized premier showcases in the United States, will now be called the 2020 Winter Surf Cup Showcase.

Older age-group teams (2001-06 birth years) will play Dec. 28-30, followed by younger age-group teams (2007-13 birth years) Jan. 2-3.

Showcase games in the older divisions carry a three-game guarantee. Boys matches are scheduled at the SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside; girls matches are scheduled at the Surf Sports Park in Del Mar.

Registration deadline is Oct. 15.

The younger division tournament, which is tentatively scheduled at the Surf Sports Park in Del Mar, carries a minimum three-game guarantee. Registration deadline is Nov. 15.

The mega-tournament, which has been in place for more than 30 years and serves as a platform for top tier college recruiting, also will hold additional events.

The Surf College Cup is scheduled Nov. 27-29 for age groups 2001-06 at the Surf Sports Park (girls) and SoCal Sports Complex (boys) and a new 2007-08 age group at Ryan Park and 4S Ranch (semifinals and finals at the Surf Sports Park).

Registration deadline is Oct. 1.

The Surf Jr. College Cup is scheduled Dec. 5-6 at Surf Sports Park for age groups 2009-13. All teams are guaranteed three games. Registration deadline is Oct. 15.

The Surf Challenge takes the soccer schedule into 2021 with games Jan. 16-18 at Surf Sports Park for age groups 2007-13. There is a three-game guarantee. Registration deadline is Dec. 1.

“Despite COVID-19, the demand for Surf Cup in 2020 has never wavered,” tournament directors explained in a press release. “We believe it is our responsibility and our number one priority to service our soccer community and in doing so we must remain flexible. This is an unusual move for us, but this is also an unusual period of time.”

The Surf Cup has generated some impressive numbers with an annual economic impact of $120 million, $7 million in charitable contributions, 200,000 youth participants, 1,500 college coaches and scouts, 490,000 attendees per year and 155,000 hotel rooms booked.

Put on hold

The Nexen Manchester City Cup tournament, which had its original 2020 Memorial Day scheduled postponed to Labor Day due to the coronavirus pandemic, has now been cancelled altogether.

Tournament organizers are gearing up to host the international-draw event over Memorial Day Weekend 2021.

“The health and safety of the players, coaches and families are our top priority and at this time we encourage everyone to stay safe and stay home, thus the decision to reschedule the event,” Surf Cup Sports tournament director Michelle Chesters explained. “

The event attracts the top academies from Europe, Mexico, Australia and the United States to form one of the top youth soccer tournaments in this country, with games on live television via Univision and ESPN.

However, due to international travel restrictions it became clear that generating an international event of this caliber was not safe or practical this summer, according to tournament organizers.

“The International Super Group is the star of the show at our Nexen Manchester City Cup tournament, and without this featured bracket, it’s hard to host an event that is worthy of the Manchester City brand,” explained Brian Enge, who serves as CEO of Surf Cup Sports. “If the current environment doesn’t allow for this elite caliber of talent, then we will wait until 2021 and continue to build this top international event.”

“The Nexen Manchester Cup is one of the highlights of our youth soccer calendar and it is with great regret that we have to cancel this year’s event,” added Cristina Mora, vice president of City Football Marketing USA. “Sadly, it isn’t possible to proceed with the tournament without complete certainty around the safety of attendees, who travel from across the world for this event. However, we are focused on planning a fantastic event for next year when we look forward to welcoming the players back onto the pitch.”

For more information, visit the website at mancitycup.com.

Surf Cup postponed to December as youth soccer schedule pushed back amid pandemic