The 16th edition of the USASA National Veterans Cup was held on June 25-June 30, 2013 at Frances Ryan Park, in Escondido, North San Diego County, California. 102 teams registered to compete for titles in 12 different Women's and Men's divisions. For the first time ever did participation increase in the 2nd year of hosting this tournament at the same venue! New flavor for this year was the start of a women’s over 65 division and participation by three International teams (one from Japan and two from Canada).
This year we had a whole new look because of the new USASA branding, signage, and tents which made the entire tournament look like a professional event. In addition, each participant received a brand new t-shirt with the new USASA logo for being part of this tournament.
Over 2,200 players attended and played 199 games over six long grueling days. Continuing on last year’s theme, teams experienced a heat wave, good competition, excellent refereeing, and outstanding beer after the games. The new location of the beer tent was deemed a success by players as on a daily basis we had large crowds of spectators and players.
As in past years, the National Committee worked long hours ahead of the competition to improve on last year’s concerns of long registration lines, lack of support staff, and not enough sun shelters for spectators. The bar was set high as last summer feedback was deemed the best tournament by many participants. Based on the early unsolicited comments we accomplished to meet the expectations of the teams and players. Below are some excerpts of team e-mails that we just received.
The Cal South Soccer association topped their performance from 2012 and improved their operational execution of being an excellent host. I can’t describe it in words how well they did and what this meant to tournament. The Virginia Beach team will have a tough act to follow.
Games started out on a cool Tuesday evening with 3 games being played and a full beer tent of spectators. 186 games later we were into the finals. In the Over-30's Men’s division, we saw local San Diego team Club Italia overcome last year final loss against Sudaca by beating IFC Berkley by a score of 1-0 for their first Veterans Cup title.
In the Women's Over-30 division, we had two new teams battling for the title. Local teams Blue Ribbon and WAM United battled back and forth. This game looked like it was going to end in OT when WAM United scored to tie the game 2-2 with less than 10 seconds left of the game. At the end Blue Ribbon beat WAM United by the score of 3-2 in penalties.
The Women's Over-55 title was played between NOVA WFC vs. MIHIO. This was a very close game and it could have gone either way as both teams gave it their all on the field for over 120 minutes. The game was finally settled via penalty kicks where NOCA WFC were victorious with a 3-0 win.
In the Men's Over-55 division, we saw two St Louis teams play each other for the title. Scott Gallagher St. Louis beat St. Ambrose by a score of 2-0.
In the Women’s Over-40 division, we saw Houston Challengers beat returning Champion San Francisco by a score of 1-0. In the Men’s Over-40 division, Nomads defeated St. Louis Falcons by a score of 1-0 for their 2nd championship in a row.
In the Women's Over-50 division, 4-time finalist Leahi played against first time participant Austin Allies. For the 3rd time of the day a game went to penalty kicks where Austin Allies beat Leahi by a score of 5-4. In the Over-60 Women’s division, Motor City Classic beat Still Kicking by a score of 1-0.
For the Over 50's Men's division, Cardinal Grey returned to defend their title but was beaten by Tri Alliance Saints in OT by a score of 4-3. This was their first title in Vets Cup since 2008 when they won the over 40’s division.
In the Over-60 Men’s division, returning champion Oklahoma United defended their title by winning over Chicago based Fichte Rams SC by a score of 4-1. The Men's Over-65 division saw Canadian based Alemania SC 065 Vancouver beat local team Charrua by a score of 6-1 to earn their 1st title.
Perpetual Motion from California became our first Women’s over 65 division winner. They played hard for the entire week and knocked out all the competition to become the champion of this age group.
Many thanks to Luis Salcedo and his entire team from Cal South, the City of Escondido, Carlos from Frances Ryan Park, and all of the volunteers from the hosting committee for making the 2013 Veterans Cup such a success. We will miss you all and hope to see you again in the near future.
A special thanks to all of the referees who donated their time to officiate matches. And finally, a very special thanks to the members of the national committee who spent countless hours helping out teams, players, referees and ensuring the everyone were taken care of during the tournament.
Here are some parting thoughts about the Vets Cup in Escondido. The tournament has grown in size and we have made some significant adjustments how we run this event. We have improved the service level we deliver to teams and players. We continue looking at all aspects of the operational execution and service provided for this tournament. Our goal is to be the best adult Veteran’s tournament in the world and continue to grow by having more national and international teams attend this event.
I will personally miss the cool summer night games with the beautiful sunset and the surrounding mountains. I will always remember how much teams enjoyed this location and the well-attended beer garden in the middle of the complex. The competition this year was raised to another level and the California teams came to play with a total 10 teams in the finals!
The 2014 Veterans Cup will be moving back to the east coast next year and Virginia Beach will be the host for this event the next 2 years. The location of the facility is at Hampton Road Soccer Complex (http://soccercomplex.org/) and next year’s tournament dates is July 8-13, 2014. We do expect a record breaking team attendance at this new venue.
We are very excited for this location and can’t wait to see you all. The planning has already started for next year and be on the lookout for registration and lodging information.
In conclusion, we want to wish good luck to our Veteran’s Cup teams attending the World Masters Games in Torino. Come home with the gold!
Cheers and Happy 4th of July,
The Veterans Cup was founded by the United States Adult Soccer Association in 1998 to provide the highest level of competition for players that are 30 years old and above. Throughout the years the tournament has been held in various locations including Bellingham, Washington; Nashua, New Hampshire; Beckley, West Virginia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Wilmington, North Carolina, and Escondido, California. 189 teams participated in the Veterans Cup in 2007-08 in Bellingham, Washington and 209 teams took part in the events in 2009-10 in Lancaster, Massachusetts. 2011 we had 63 teams attend Sanford, Florida. The past 2 years we had 197 teams attend this tournament.