Every year it boggles my mind that clubs and teams choose to gamble with entry fees to New Jersey soccer tournaments in March. I guess it is March Madness, and we all like to throw a little money around… but when the cost for an 11v11 flight can be upwards of $900, and you are not guaranteed even half of that back in event of cancellation, why enter? I get the benefits and needs of an early season tournament, playing games outdoors after 3 months indoors is extremely valuable. However, NJ coaches need to be realistic. The fact is March hits us every year with a snow storm and forecasts are entirely unpredictable.
Last year I wrote a similar article on NJ weather slowing the start of the season. This year, we actually had a couple of OK weeks, and cold weekend games were able to be played, and then the snow struck (Tues 3/14). Now tournaments like the EDP Spring Classic (formerly MAPS Spring Challenge) and NJ Cup are undoubtedly flooded with questions from there entrants about deadlines and schedules that remain in jeopardy. Last year the girls MAPS Challenge lost an entire day due to a snow storm that came through. This year, it could be possible we lose both days of the EDP Spring Classic, but good news is that South Jersey (held at Fort Dix and Cohansey) felt way less of the storm than the North.
This is actually the note that currently sits on the EDP Classic home page: WEATHER UPDATE as 4:00 PM Monday – All fields are lined and snow-free, awaiting what the forecast storm brings. We will be updating Tuckahoe and Fort Dix separately, as different conditions may apply. Unless the facility hosts advise us that the fields will be unplayable after a post-storm assessment, we are planning on going forward as scheduled at this time.
REALLY?!?! – I don’t think I would have worded it that way.
The NJ Cup is dealing with entirely different problems. Clubs hosting games all over the State have deadlines, and a number of teams were proactive and played in frigid temperatures on turf this past weekend. However, a March 20th cut off is pushing coaches to be creative. Their are ramblings that it could be extended a few days, but the next round’s deadline is April 3rd, which leaves a short window. I have heard of teams booking indoor space at the cost of $295 just to get a single game in, nuts.
Leagues are in the same boat: Mid – New Jersey for example, pumped out a schedule beginning this past weekend (3/12 and 3/13), and virtually no games were played. Club fields are ready, and who wants to jeopardize the playing surface for the entire Spring? March 18th and 19th, I cannot see much changing, which means we are pushed back to the last weekend in March, when all leagues and tournaments should begin going forward. I am not sure how this will change, but it needs to soon, because the fact remains that NJ weather in March is remarkably unfriendly.