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.

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  Complete coverage of events, tournaments, and teams from around the San Diego area year round can be found at

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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