On any given spring weekend you can head to one of the numerous fields across the state of and see one of the many soccer tournaments that brings athletes from all over the United States to Maryland. Maryland hosts some of the biggest and best soccer tournaments in the country. Behind these tournaments is a great company, Elite Tournaments. Over the past 14 years Elite Tournaments has put on countless quality soccer tournaments and have become one of the premier tournament management companies in the country.
In 2000 Michael Libber was a soccer coach for a U-12 team and needed to raise some money to help his team afford their first out of state soccer tournament. Libber thought a good way to do this was to organize their own tournament with the proceeds going to help subsidize the team’s future trip. The first year ten teams signed up and the tournament was a great success. The following year the tournament was even more successful and had over 60 teams participating in the event. Libber figured if his tournament was so successful why not create more or help people put on their own. With this Elite Tournaments was born.
Elite Tournaments has grown from Libber and his family to a staff that has different skill sets and can solve any problem that might occur over the course of a tournament. They have separate staff members that specialize in business development, marketing, recruiting, scheduling, large scale operations, and smaller scale logistical preparation. With educational backgrounds in areas such as project management, coaching education, non-profit development, business communication, and sports management it is easy to see how they can focus on individualized needs while creating a cohesive management plan. Even with all that knowledge, Elite is still a family oriented business and that environment makes the people that work there and with them feel like they are working with family.
Elite Tournaments has organized over 200 youth soccer events for numerous clubs, colleges, international and professional organizations. From that first tournament they have now expanded to over 50 tournaments and continue to grow. They have organized events across the United States and have starting to go international with tournaments in Bermuda and even assisting with the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Elite Tournaments is trying to create opportunities for kids to develop their skills and their love of the game. According to marketing manager Megan Ditchman, “Currently I think our biggest goal is to provide a safe and competitive environment for athletes to play a sport that they love.” Yes putting on a good tournament is important to them but in reality all they want to do is give kids a chance to play a sport that they love.
It’s not only the success of the tournaments but also what the tournaments are for. Elite Tournaments worked with National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) to come up with the NSCAA College Showcase Series. This series has multiple events throughout the country where potential college soccer players can come and showcase their skills to hundreds of college coaches. They also have a unique agreement with the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspurs and Under Armour. They created an event called the Tottenham America Trophy Tournament where teams from all across the country come to Maryland to show their skills to Tottenham scouts in the hope of being one of the 15-20 kids selected to go to England and train with Tottenham’s coaches, staff and on their training grounds. The partnership with Tottenham has been great according to Ditchman, “This was a revolutionary partnership for Elite because it brought a lot of publicity to the company as well as bridged the gap between Elite Tournaments and the professional circuit.” In 2013, the tournament expanded to 50 teams from 19 the previous year, who participated and were closely monitored by the Hotspur Development Acadmey staff.
This April, the participants, led by Elite Tournaments will make their way to London to experience the Tottenham Hotspur training facility. The week consists of monitored training sessions, meetings with the team and coaches, and the opportunity for each player to be a ball boy at White Hart Lane during a Hotspur match. Both sides have benefited immensely from this partnership and Elite Tournaments hopes their partnership continues to grow. All of this shows that Elite Tournaments will put on a top rate tournament regardless of if it is for a good cause like the Amanda Post Memorial Tournament or to showcase player’s abilities to scouts and coaches.
Elite Tournament’s growth over the past couple of years has been amazing. They are getting national recognition as one of the top tournament management companies in the country and with their expansion overseas, helping with tournaments in Spain, England and Italy amongst others, they may soon be one of the best in the world. Elite Tournaments has started to branch out to other sports as well. They are starting to host tournaments for lacrosse, field hockey and 5ks. Ditchman states, “At this point in time, the biggest goal aside from keeping our quality of tournaments higher than ever, is deciding where our next growth opportunity lies.” With all the success they have had in managing soccer tournaments it seems likely that those skills will crossover to other sports.
If you are looking to create or host a tournament and need help Elite Tournaments can help with anything and everything. They offer their services and you are welcomed to be as involved as you want in setting up the tournament. They offer a great service and you are sure to put on a great tournament if you work with Elite Tournaments. Maryland Sports is happy to have Elite Tournaments call Maryland home and look forward to continuing our great relationship.