Club Champions League (CCL)’s continued investment in developing the CCL Showcase built anticipation for their December event. Half a foot of snow extended the timeline for this anticipation building, as a cancellation forced them to wait another month for the February Showcase.
Thankfully, though the February weekend was bitterly cold, and then later cold and rainy, the weather was cooperative enough to host the event. New to the showcase this year was a revamped College Coaches Tent, a new Parents Tent—and due to missed time from the December Showcase—more dutiful CCL United evaluations.
The College Coaches Tent included catered meals, drinks, CCL player booklets, streamed premier league matches, couches, chairs, and most importantly, propane heaters to combat nasty weather. This has been a hallmark of the CCL showcases, with the idea being better accommodations for coaches, means they will be more likely to attend, and come back again. This year accommodations were expanded to include streams of CCL marquee matches, filmed and broadcasted live courtesy of CineSports. Not only did this force eyes on CCL players, but also it allowed college coaches more flexibility—if the conditions picked up, or they needed a lunch break, they could hop inside the tent and keep an eye on recruits. ESPN Radio also made an appearance, hosting an interview with CCL Ambassador Darryl Gee, and some attending college coaches. As part of the goal to increase awareness, they talked about the event, and the important role it plays for the league, the community, and soccer in the area.
The Parents Tent was a new addition this year, offering parents some of the same solace coaches have access to if the conditions are rough. They were, and the heated tent stocked with snacks, drinks, and hot coffee was much appreciated. Still, CCL is eager to provide more for their parents so a league partner, The Sport Source, hosted hourly seminars on the college recruiting process. Parents want to give their kids the best chance to play collegiately, and want to have all the information they can at their disposal—this was another effort to help in the process.
With CCL United Team Selections announced the following week, coaches were diligent in getting to as many games in the 2000, 2001, and 2002 age groups as possible. As such, players were at their best, and competition thrived for teams.
With over 130 college coaches at the event, and numbers increasing steadily by year, CCL is on the right track in building a model recruiting environment. There was ample praise for the event, but a bit from a Beach FC Coach seemed to best encapsulate the weekend, “We go to a lot of events, we’ve been to some of the biggest tournaments in the region, but none are as organized or accommodating—this one is always the best.”