When You Wish Upon a Star .... A Dream Comes True
Participating in the 2008 Disney Soccer Showcase was, indeed, a dream come true for the Arlington Venom U16 boys’ team. Held December 27-30 in Orlando, Florida, this prestigious event is rated as the number one soccer tournament in the nation by both Soccer America and Gotsoccer.com while also serving as the largest college showcase, drawing coaches from top Division I, II and III schools from across the country.
Defining the magnificent aura of the entire event is the impressive Disney Wide World of Sports complex itself. Spread over 220 acres, the immaculately manicured landscaping and canary yellow buildings house dozens of basketball and volleyball courts, an All-Star Sports Café, a state-of-the-art baseball stadium and the Sports Experience interactive sports arena. Cloudless skies and temperatures in the 70’s were the order of the day. Pristine soccer fields of dark green etched with bright white lines let you know this was no ordinary venue. True to the Disney standard of excellence, the Wide World of Sports complex invited players, coaches and fans into a world of soccer nirvana seldom experienced elsewhere. It was clear that the excited anticipation by all on the Venom was not to be met with disappointment.
The Venom earned a birth in the tournament through a combination of successful league play, state cup play, national rankings, tournament results and roster strength that placed them in the Predator-White division. Over 220 U15-U19 boy’s teams from across the nation gathered to compete in front of hundreds of college coaches looking on for prospective recruits. Just a sample of coaches that were on hand to watch Venom play included American University, William & Mary, UVA, Virginia Tech, University of Cincinnati, Loyola, East Stroudsburg University and Elon. Many other coaches were around the pitch throughout the tournament taking note of the quality play demonstrated by all the players participating.
Off the pitch the boys were able to enjoy the spoils of one of the country’s finest resort areas. The team’s schedule allowed for a team dinner, sunning by the pool, an afternoon at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and some beach volleyball. True to form, the casual beach volleyball games quickly turned competitive and as calls and scores were contested, a referee had to be called in to monitor play. All in great fun, of course!
No doubt, everyone had a great time and talk of returning in 2009 was already circulating among the team. With continued hard work and success, here’s to a return trip and another wish upon that famous Disney star. To view photos.