New Jersey soccer teams are likely eager to get outside after three months of fustal and indoor training. However, if history has told us anything, it’s that the NJ weather in March rarely cooperates, postponing the start of the season.
EDP League play is slated to kickoff March 17th and 18th for boys and March 24th and 25th for girls. It seems early, but to prevent the schedule getting crammed into a 10 week period, it is completely necessary. Coaches and managers can even opt to pre-play games in the first two weeks of March ease the scheduling process.
However, this is all wishful thinking…
- From 1981 to 2010 average snowfall in March is about an inch
- In March 2015 we were hit by an early March snowfall of about 7-8 inches
- In 2016 NJ averaged 3.7 inches of snow
- In 2017 some areas of NJ got up to 20 inches of snow
If your club does not have a turf facility, forget about it. The grass fields are just starting to grow during this time of year, and playing on them this early will set up a season full of mud ball. Regardless of snow, because there is always plenty of rain.
This raises the question to why there are so many preseason tournaments?
- The EDP Spring Classic has been forced to cancel games in recent years – yet 496 teams paid upwards of $990 for full-sided games the weekend of March 17th and 18th.
- The DTS Spring Girls Tournament (turf) is set to kickoff this weekend – March 3rd and 4th! Last year it was able to be played.
- The NJ Wildcats also host a girls tournament in Long Branch the first weekend in March.
- STA Morris County Spring Invitational is a one day tournament on Friday March 9th.
- Monmouth Cedar Stars host their Girls tournament on March 10th and 11th on their new turf facility in Tinton Falls – the boys go the following weekend.
- Ironbound out of Newark have a one day tournament on Friday March 16th
- Hoboken City (new futbol club) are having a turf cup this weekend
- U.S. PARMA is hosting their tournament March 17th and 18th in Edison and on turf, so hopefully they will get played
- TMT Tournaments hosts a tournament in Bordentown (central jersey) on the 24th and 25th
- In South Jersey Twin County Soccer club hosts their kickoff event the 24th and 25th as well.
- The EDP Easter College Showcase has been moved up 2 weeks from last year (because Easter is earlier – March 30th and 31st) putting the Showcase tournament at risk as well.
It is obvious teams are getting the itch to get outside, especially when temperatures hit the mid 70’s last week, but March is just a tease. There is also a clear saturation of the market here for preseason tournaments, but we should understand how profitable and important they are to clubs.
Yes, we want to get games in early to prep for the meat of the season, and prevent running into summer vacations, but every year it is the same story. Maybe global warming will help out in Spring 2018, however, it is likely again all the pre-planning coaches and organizations do this month will ultimately need to be done again in April.