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College coaches from top programs around the country including Cal, Stanford, Harvard, Florida, and Boston College descended on Del Mar’s Polo Fields this past weekend to witness the top soccer players from around the country and beyond compete in the 2009 Surf Cup. The Surf Cup is the premier location for college soccer recruiting all year.  While coaches aren’t allowed to talk to players or parents at the tournament and vice versa, the athletes do all the talking with their play on the field.

College Coach Communication

It is a standard procedure for athletes who are going to be playing Surf Cup to send an email to their prospective school’s coach ,complete with their Surf Cup schedule, schedule for the remainder of the summer, and a video, if they have one.  The coach is allowed to respond to this initial communication at will, but is banned from talking to the athlete or their parents at the event itself.  If the coach likes what they see, they will follow up with the player.  If the coach views the athlete as a potential recruit, they might ask for transcripts for review, ask for further game video, or ask them to make a visit to the school.  It is important to note that none of the follow up will happen unless the athlete makes the effort to contact those coaches of those schools they are interested in attending.

Coach’s Presence

Everywhere you turned at the 2009 Surf Cup you ran into a different college coach, each one decked out head to toe in their school’s gear.  A stroll in between fields would seem to reveal that there were more coaches than players.  At any one time, there might have been 25 coaches watching one game.  Can you imagine the pressure?  The coach from your dream school sits there scrutinizing your every move.  If you’re not the first one to a loose ball or you miss a pass even by just a couple inches, that coach does not hesitate to furiously write some sort of comment next to your name.

The worst part?  They all sit in a neat little row armed with their easy flip, portable chairs, drawstring backpacks, and yellow notepads.  The Duke coach who is sitting directly adjacent to the Georgia coach is looking very quizzical.   The UCLA coach who sits in between the Michigan and Cal coaches is sneaking a peek of his rival’s notes.  The Syracuse coach is minding her own business but scribing what seems to be a novel on one of her players of interest.  All of this is going on while these 16-18 year old kids are trying to make a play for their team.

While it seems impossible for any one of these players to focus on the field, JP Scatterday of the U19 Mustang Ajax told me that it is easy for him to zone in.  Because the field is so big and the action is so intense, he finds it easy to stay focused and is usually surprised when he finds out the number of coaches that were watching his game.  The amount of composure these teenagers are able to display despite such overwhelming pressure is impressive.

The Action

Accompanying the perennial powerhouse club teams of Southern California (San Diego Surf, So Cal Blues, So Cal Real, West Coast FC, Irvine Strikers, So Cal United, and Slammers FC) were teams from all over the country and all over the world.  Aside from the continued dominance of the Southern California teams across the board, the Northern California teams had the next best showing.  While Southern California teams won 3 of the divisions and had a presence in 8 of the 12 finals, Northern California teams won 4 of the 5 divisions in which they had teams in the finals.  The best international showing goes to the Vancouver Whitecaps of Canada.  Their Girl’s U19 team made it to the finals of the super division while their Men’s U19 team was able to advance to the semifinals.

XKSanDiego.com

For more on this weekend’s Surf Cup including results, pictures, articles and more, visit San Diego’s one stop shop for soccer news at www.xksandiego.com.  Complete coverage of events, tournaments, and teams from around the San Diego area year round can be found at xksandiego.com.

SportsForce was able to capture some awesome footage, get plenty of quality interviews, and increase awareness of our brand throughout the soccer community.  All in all it was a great event and one that SportsForce hopes to do more with in the future.

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This past weekend, top soccer players from around the world from ages 8 to 14 met at the San Diego Polo Fields in Del Mar to compete in the 2009 Surf Cup.  As one of the top tournaments in the country, this year’s Surf Cup selected teams from all over the country to come play. These teams included the Concord Fire of Georgia, Eastside FC out of Washington, and the Texas Fire traveling in from Texas. Not only did the Surf Cup attract top teams from all of the US, but it also hosted teams from around the world including the Universidad Pumas of Mexico and the Calgary Blizzards from Canada.

Despite the stiff national and international competition, Southern California teams had quite the impressive showing, winning every single division except one.  The Dallas Texans proved to be too much for the San Diego Surf Blue in the Girls U12 division, taking the final 2-0.  For a complete list of the winners by division, click here.

Complete coverage of the weekend’s event can be found by visiting San Diego’s “go-to” site for local soccer news, XKSanDiego.com.  Complete with pictures of the event, recaps of each division, action shots of most of the players, and more,  XKSanDiego.com is your one stop shop for San Diego soccer news.

With youth division play out of the way, another wave of all-star soccer players are set to come to the valley this weekend.  Starting this Saturday, the U16-U19 divisions will feature top talent from around the world.  The incredible level of competition is guaranteed to draw top coaches from all over the country who will look to both further their relationships with players they’ve already been recruiting and to start relationships with the up and coming prospects.  Be sure to check back next week for a recap of the action.

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If you are an Orange County or Los Angeles area high school football player and you weren’t at Sage Hill high school on Saturday, June 27, you missed out on an amazing experience.

J.R. Tolver, former SDSU, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys receiver, who is now the Sage Hill athletic director and head football coach, hosted what proved to be a once in a lifetime football camp.  The camp was laden with experienced coaches, who proved that they know better than anyone what it takes to dominate the football field.

NFL Players Challenge the Athletes

Aside from the Sage Hill coaching staff, current and former NFL players including Kevin O’Connell, Robert Ortiz, Kirk Morrison, and Freddy Keiaho coached these Orange County athletes throughout a camp that won’t be forgotten.

Playing catch with Kevin O’Connell, joking around with Robert Ortiz, and watching Akbar Gbaja-Biamila evaluate pass rushing attempts of the high schoolers definitely proved to be the highlights of the camp for me. One can only imagine what the experience was like for the athletes attending the camp.

The Drills

The NFL player coaching staff  immersed themselves into the camp.  They got to know each player’s name, their tendencies, and did everything they could to make them a better football player. While New England Patriots receiver Robert Ortiz taught the high school wide outs how to catch and protect the ball, teammate and Tom Brady’s #2 man, Kevin O’Connell, was teaching the quarterbacks how to throw the perfect pass.  Colts linebacker and Super Bowl champion, Freddy Keiaho, taught the linebackers how to find and close up the holes in the line, fellow linebacker Kirk Morrison of the Oakland Raiders worked with the defense trying to instill in them the same drive that pushed him to record 135 tackles last season (3rd in the NFL).  Running backs learned how to hit the holes with a burst of speed, defensive backs learned how to read the offense, and the line quickly discovered that size isn’t the only key to protecting the quarterback.  Every position received quality instruction from these top NFL talents.

Needless to say, this camp provided high school players of all levels with the opportunity to learn from the best.  Athletes learned that, while the game is physically challenging, success starts with the mind.  Not only did these athletes learn the ins and outs of their respective positions, they got a sense of what kind of mentality is necessary to advance their careers on and off the field. From how to dominate in high school to what it takes to get to the next level, this all star coaching staff spent an extraordinary day giving these athletes all the tools they would need to succeed in the upcoming fall season and life beyond.

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While most of us will be spending the next few months traveling, surfing, relaxing, and pretending to work out, there is a small, hard working group of teenagers all over the country who will be doing exactly the opposite: high school football players.  Regardless of the level, football players around the country are spending their summers getting up unnecessarily early, practicing, lifting, memorizing their playbooks, training, and drinking protein shakes in preparation for their fall seasons.  While spring ball is when these athletes spend time in the weight room bulking up, summer ball is when they take the time to hone their skills and build team chemistry.  This is the time for coaches to teach their players the ins and outs of their playbooks, and then see who emerges on top with the right to start in the fall.

SDSU Passing League 06_19_09 from Sports Force on Vimeo.

In order for coaches to test their kids in game situations and in order for the players to gain valuable playing experience at their respective positions, passing league tournaments are run all over the country to satisfy that competitive need.  Throughout the “off-season,” football players are put through rigorous training sessions with the expectation that by the time summer rolls around, they will be in top physical shape.  Finally, come late May, they have the opportunity to show off their hard work on the field at a passing league tournament.  A passing league game features all offensive and defensive players, with the exception of lineman, squaring off without pads or helmets.  In this two-hand-touch, 40-minute game, crisp passes, precise route running, and lock down man defense are the keys to victory.

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