Choosing a Preseason Tournament

With just a few weeks before the New Jersey Fall 2017 soccer season arrives, many teams are in a search for a good preseason tournament experience.  I always recommend playing in a preseason tournament because it is 3-4 games in a weekend to shake off the summer rust, and assess your team from the get go.  It isn’t always the highest quality of soccer because of the time off many teams take, but it is important to get the kids back on the pitch playing the game they love before the league games begin.

There are a host of options available in NJ starting this weekend August 20th and 21st believe it or not!  I am not sure how many teams are going to be ready to go that soon with this being a popular vacation time for New Jersey families…. but it is great the option is there as I know there are clubs looking to get a jump start on the Fall and head into September in full swing.  You can always do a generic GotSoccer Search for New Jersey tournaments, but there is more to think about then just that…

  1.  Find an “Applied Teams” list for the tournament.  These are typically on the tournament registration page, and if not reach out to the director.  The worst thing that can happen is you enter a tournament where teams are way above or below your level.  You want to start the season off on a good note, but at the same time want to play competitive games.  Taking a loss is OK, as preseason tournaments should not be about winning, but about finding form.
  2. Consider staying local.  There are so many tournaments early on (especially Labor Day weekend) that you won’t have to travel far to play soccer.  Township clubs host plenty of well run tournaments this time of year and it is nice to support the local clubs once in a while.  Plus, your parents will be happy they had a short drive during a busy time of the year.montgomerysoccer
  3. Assess your team before signing up.  I recommend holding a preseason camp or series of training sessions to seewhere your team stands.  This will help you decide whether to enter one at the end of August or maybe hold off until the second week in September to ensure some level of success.  You also will want to bring a full squad to these events because it is typically hot and players don’t have the stamina they did to end the Spring.

The value of a preseason tournament should not be overlooked, but consider all the options out there before applying.  Again, the goal is to regain fitness and form in your players, and if you end up with a medal or trophy, that’s just the icing on top.  We know results early on can set the tone for the season, but this should not be the consistent message on the sideline.  As coaches use the tournament to assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses and adjust your season’s training plan according to what you have seen.  In a season bound to be filled with uncertainty, I recommend all coaches take the opportunity to enter a tournament and show everyone involved in your team what the season will be about.

Here is one great example of a local club camp to a



SEPTEMBER 9-11, 2016
Essex Fall Tune-Up Tournament
Tournament Director
P.O. Box 2419
Livingston, NJ 07039

USYSA Sanctioned through the State of New Jersey Youth Soccer Association


The 15th Annual Essex Fall Tune-Up Soccer Tournament will be played on Friday-Sunday, September 9th-11th.  This 3-day youth soccer event, is co-sponsored by the Livingston and West Orange Soccer Clubs.  Games are played at various field locations in the two neighboring towns.  The EFT’s primary purpose is to provide youth soccer teams the opportunity to play games prior to the start of their regular season.  We attract approximately 165 teams from throughout the State of New Jersey.

*If you would like to promote your tournament using send an email to

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