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Tournament hits mark for thousands of players

james 02/07/24 Tournament

The 7 Elite Academy International Tournament reached a spectacular climax as thousands of players from around the world battled it out for honors at venues in Southern Utah and Nevada.

A record total of 400 teams took part in the three day tournament, with players travelling from the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Canada and across the United States.

Youngsters from Pre-Academy through to Under-23 level set new standards for youth soccer in the region, with college scouts, academy recruiters and professional clubs taking a keen interest.

Unseasonal heavy rain washed out a number of venues at short notice last weekend – meaning some games were rescheduled – but teams still staged a striking display of competitive soccer.

Nick Nield, 7 Elite Academy Tournament Director, said: “In terms of high standards throughout all the teams, this was by far the best tournament we have ever held. 

“Every single game I watched was played in the right spirit and with the full backing of the parents and coaches. It was noisy, fun and full of team spirit, which is all we can ever ask for.

“We’ve been lucky with the weather in previous years, but for once the rain hit us hard. I want to thank our team for their hard work in rescheduling games and ensuring everyone still had a great tournament.

“On the final day we were blessed with some great weather, so the finals were played in beautiful sunshine. That is a huge positive for our tournament as we begin to look towards next year.”

The event was marked by the biggest-ever travelling contingent of players from the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond with over 70 youngsters and coaches making the trip to Utah.

That influx of international players helped to attract more recruiters than ever before, with staff from Utah Tech, Steven Gerrard Academy, Snow College and Real Salt Lake in attendance.

Anthony Godfrey, 7 Elite Academy Global Director, said: “I can’t thank the players, coaches and parents enough for making this year’s tournament such a brilliant event.

“Having 400 teams from across the world here in Southern Utah and Nevada shows the great potential this region possesses in terms of soccer. It was nothing short of spectacular.

“As well as the games themselves, we held events throughout the weekend with recruiters and scouts from professional clubs – including Real Salt Lake – academies and universities. 

“Economically, this event brings huge benefits for local businesses, with many hotels and restaurants fully booked throughout the weekend. We estimate the economic benefits to be in the region of over a million dollars.

“That is why we want to work in partnership with city authorities to make sure the pitches and facilities are up to date and ready to handle our target of over 500 teams next year.”