Virginia Beach Spring Classic Soccer Tournament Guide

Virginia Beach Spring Classic Soccer Tournament Guide
Table Of Content

The Virginia Beach Spring Classic Soccer Tournament

The Virginia Beach Spring Classic is an annual youth soccer tournament held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Taking place each spring, it has become one of the most popular and competitive youth soccer events on the East Coast of the United States.

History of the Virginia Beach Spring Classic

The Virginia Beach Spring Classic was founded in 2005 by Virginia Rush, a local youth soccer club in Virginia Beach. They wanted to create a high-quality competitive tournament that attracted top teams from across the region and country.

The first Virginia Beach Spring Classic in 2005 saw around 100 teams compete across age groups ranging from U11 to U18. It was held at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex and some surrounding fields. The event was considered a big success and received positive feedback from participating coaches and players.

Building on the inaugural success, Virginia Rush continued to grow the Virginia Beach Spring Classic year after year, adding more teams, divisions, and activities. Some key developments and milestones included:

  • In 2007, the tournament expanded to include international youth teams from countries like England, Brazil, and Germany.
  • The 2010 tournament hosted over 550 teams, establishing it as one of the largest single-location youth soccer events in the US.
  • A college showcase recruiting event was added in 2013 to connect elite high school players with college coaches.
  • The 15th annual Virginia Beach Spring Classic in 2019 set a new record with over 700 competing teams.

Today, the Virginia Beach Spring Classic continues to cement its status as a premier destination tournament for top youth soccer talent. Teams travel from across over 40 states and several countries to take part each year.

Tournament Events and Activities

The centerpiece of the Virginia Beach Spring Classic is, of course, the youth soccer tournament. It features competition across a multitude of divisions:

  • Age Groups: U8 to U18 teams for both boys and girls.
  • Ability Levels: Elite, Premier, Championship tiers that segment teams by talent and experience.
  • Team Types: Standard 11v11 teams as well as 7v7 and 4v4 squads in younger groups.

Tournament matches take place across a complex of 13 artificial turf and high-quality grass fields to accommodate the 700+ participating teams each year. There is always exciting soccer action happening from the first kickoff to the final championships!

Beyond the games, the Virginia Beach Spring Classic incorporates several other programming elements:

  • The College Recruiting Showcase allows rising U16-U18 players to be seen by college coaches through scheduled training sessions and matches.
  • Guest Players are brought in to practice and motivate participants.
  • A vendor expo features merchants selling soccer gear, apparel, photography services, tournament merchandise, and more.
  • The tournament hotel and surrounding area organizes fun off-field giveaways and activities for players and families.

Taken together, all these components have created a wonderful environment where talented young athletes get to fully immerse themselves in the world’s beautiful game while pursuing their competitive and developmental goals!

Big Moments and Memories

With such rich history and tradition, the Virginia Beach Spring Classic has witnessed many stunning moments over the years. Some all-time memorable highlights include:

  • In 2012, the U17 Baltimore Bays Chelsea squad completed an incredible undefeated run through the Elite tier en route to the first-ever tournament sweep (group stage + playoffs) without conceding a single goal.
  • 2013 showcased a sibling rivalry when the U15 NJCSA Eagles team knocked the Players Development Academy Fire U15 team, featuring star forward Haji Wright, out of the playoffs - whose older brother, Schillo Tshuma, played for NJCSA.
  • A dramatic 2017 Open Final saw NJCSA 00B Red defeat World Class FC 00 Blue in a penalty kick shootout after an intense back-and-forth battle.
  • In 2021, Barbie Beast led her team to an undefeated Championship tier run, wowing crowds with dominant defensive efforts shutting down some of the tournament’s best offensive talents.

There are surely many more iconic moments and memories still to come at future Virginia Beach Spring Classic tournaments!

2023 Tournament Preview

The 2023 Virginia Beach Spring Classic is slated to be another installment for the ages in this prestigious tournament’s decorated history.

Where and When

As usual, the 2023 event will be based out of the Virginia Beach Sports Center and surrounding fields. Tournament matches will take place on the complex’s 13 artificial and natural grass pitches.

Here is the schedule overview:

  • March 24-26: Group Stage Matches
  • March 27: Playoff Rounds
  • March 28: Finals & Championship Games

Who Will Be There

Hundreds of youth soccer teams from across the United States and around the world will once again flock to Virginia Beach for their shot at glory. Anticipated participating programs include:

  • Top regional powerhouses like McLean YS, Richmond Strikers, South County SC, Baltimore Celtic Darby FC.
  • Recognized national clubs such as Players Development Academy, NJCSA, Lonestar SC, SC del Sol, FC Stars of Mass, World Class FC.
  • International teams from Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Portugal, England and more.

With so many elite teams and players gathering to compete, scouts believe the 2023 Virginia Beach Spring Classic could be the most talent-packed iteration yet!

Players to Watch

While surprises always emerge at such a massive tournament, there are a few standout athletes expected to catch the eye based on their reputations and past performances:

  • Olivia Smith (FC Stars of Mass '26 Girls) - The technical midfielder led her U13 team to the final at 2022 Region 1 Championships.
  • Jayden Simmons (Oakwood SC '27 Boys) - A ruthless forward off the dribble who scored over 40 goals across fall tournaments.
  • Gabby Gomez (McLean Dragons '28 Girls) - Possessing superior vision and passing range, this young #10 was named the 2022 NPL 8 Champion Playmaker MVP.
  • Barbie Beast (VA Rush '26 Girls) - A rugged center-back who bullies opposing attackers and spearheads lockdown defensive efforts.

With stars like them and many others on display, the level of competition at the 2023 Virginia Beach Spring Classic looks to hit exhilarating new heights!

Tournament Success Stories

The Virginia Beach Spring Classic has served as a launching platform over the years for many players who went on to achieve greatness at higher levels of the sport.

College Recruiting Pipeline

Hundreds of tournament alumni have moved on to play NCAA Division 1 soccer on athletic scholarships. Some recent high-profile commits include:

  • Mia Walters (FC Stars of Mass) - University of Southern California
  • Leo Sanchez (NJ Rush) - University of California Los Angeles
  • Gabby Loftin (Richmond United) - Duke University
  • AJ King (Baltimore Celtic SC) - University of Virginia
  • Max Trejo (LA Galaxy San Diego) - Wake Forest University

For the elite players competing at the older age groups, the Virginia Beach Spring Classic provides crucial exposure to college programs searching for top talent.

Beyond College

On occasion, the stars truly align and future world beaters emerge from the tournament, going on to shine on the biggest stages globally. Some recent examples are:

  • Christian Pulisic - Competed with PA Classics in 2011 en route to Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea FC, and USMNT stardom.
  • Mallory Pugh - Dominated with Real Colorado in 2012-2014 prior to NWSL and USWNT success.
  • Gio Reyna - As a young New York City FC product in 2015, now excelling with Borussia Dortmund and the USMNT.

So while most players at the Virginia Beach Spring Classic likely won’t reach those lofty heights, they can always dream of following in those recent stars' incredible footsteps!

The Future Is Bright

With over 15 years of history and heritage behind it, the Virginia Beach Spring Classic has clearly cemented itself as a vital part of the American youth soccer landscape. Some elements driving ongoing excitement about the tournament’s future include:

  • Ever-increasing national and international participation from top clubs
  • Opportunities for players to gain valuable experience and get recruited
  • The amazing memories and electric atmospheres it produces year after year

Tournament directors are already planning how to make the 2024 Virginia Beach Spring Classic bigger and better than ever before to mark two full decades. One thing is for sure - the future remains bright for this beloved event that kicks off the travel soccer season in style each spring!


When and where is the Virginia Beach Spring Classic soccer tournament held?

The Virginia Beach Spring Classic takes place each spring, usually in late March, at the Virginia Beach Sports Center and surrounding fields in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

What age groups compete in the tournament?

Teams in age groups from U8 through U18 can participate, with separate divisions for boys and girls teams.

How can my child get recruited by college coaches?

The tournament hosts a College Recruiting Showcase specifically for U16-U18 players to train and play in front of college scouts searching for talent.

What is the format and how many teams can enter?

There is a group stage with playoffs after. Over 700 teams across multiple ability-based divisions take part each year.

Who are some famous past participants?

Christian Pulisic, Mallory Pugh, and Gio Reyna all competed at the Virginia Beach Spring Classic as youth players earlier in their careers.

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