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Pacific Coast Invitational Puts Nation’s Best Competitive Teams on Same Field

This Memorial Day weekend marked the inaugural Pacific Coast Invitational (PCI), an Elite Player Development (EPD) showcase for 1998 boys and girls EPD teams. Held at the Ventura College Sportsplex in Ventura, Calif., four Washington EPD teams received the experience of a lifetime, presented with great competition before U.S. Soccer National Identification Scouts.

In addition to Washington Youth Soccer, US Youth Soccer’s Cal North, Cal South and North Texas each brought two boys and two girls ’98 teams to the event, for a total of 16 teams in attendance. The PCI was a display of incredible competition, showcasing some of the most talented Under-13 players in the Nation. In addition to the matches, the event featured special guest appearances and lectures on sports science issues.

The Pacific Coast Invitational (PCI) is a breath of fresh air in terms of Elite Player Development tournaments. When working in collaboration with Cal South, Cal North and North Texas, the main emphasis of this event was on exposing young players to competitive environments to showcase their abilities. The PCI is more than just a tournament; it is a training program that will focus on the modern needs of our future National Team players. We believe that the PCI structure will create the necessary environment for elite players to compete, be identified, and — most importantly — be educated.

Long-Term Player Development is the center of elite programming in Washington. To follow this mission, the PCI was geared toward developing the whole player. Player education extended beyond the field, as players learned the important role nutrition and mental toughness play in their overall success as a soccer player.

A special presentation dinner banquet was held for all players and coaches involved in the event. The girls’ banquet featured Jillian Ellis, Developmental Director for the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Teams. Ellis shared her own playing experiences, as well as the criteria she looks for in potential National Team players.

The boys’ teams were shown the different opportunities soccer has to offer through presentations by featured guests – former Manchester United player Billy Garton, University of Santa Barbara head coach Tim Vom Steeg, and professional midfielder Christian Jimenez. Each speaker shared their experience playing, as well as the steps it took to get there.

In addition to the scheduled regular games each team played at the Invitational, there were two all-star games, one for boys and one for girls. Each all-star game featured 44 players — 11 chosen from each state association per game. On the sideline, Washington players decked-out in Rave Green and Capital Blue filled the stands, enthusiastically cheering on their teammates.

In all, the event was extremely successful for the EPD program. We are constantly looking for the best avenues in development to better our players. By exposing our players to the best competition in the nation, at a younger age, we are advancing the game as a whole in Washington.

Click Here to see pictures from the event!


 
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