WILTON – Soccer teams from across the Northeast came together at Gavin Park in Wilton and at the Saratoga Youth Lacrosse Association fields on the PBA Range property this past weekend to put on a show for around 160 college coaches at the 15th Annual Mad Dog Mania Showcase Tournament. The aim of the tournament was to provide high school soccer teams a venue at which to demonstrate their talents in the hopes of being recruited for a college team. At this year’s tournament, 131 teams from eight states competed, and while the number of individual players was not counted, tournament director Nancy Stangle estimated that there must have been over 1,800 players.
The event drew in teams from all around the Northeast, including 15 local teams and some from as far as Maine. According to Stangle, most of the teams at the event were from schools in the 3-4-hours-away range. Coaches in attendance came from all across New York State and beyond. Stangle said that most every local college was represented, including Skidmore, Union College, Siena, the College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Albany, and according the Mad Dog organization’s official website, coaches from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania made it to the event.
While the organization has never tracked the rate at which players from its tournaments successfully get recruited, Stangle cited anecdotal evidence from friends and families of players over the years to say that a good number of them are successful thanks to the tournament. A press release from Mad Dog Mania also cited an unnamed college coach in attendance at this year’s event as saying that they had targeted around 30 players as worthy of further consideration.
In that same press release, Mad Dog Mania also touted the economic benefits of their annual tournament. According to them, approximately 4,500 individuals journey to the tournament each year, resulting in around 1,000 hotel rooms being booked, with many participants partaking in local shops and restaurants.
“Numerous participants and spectators have said that they plan to return to this area for personal visits,” the release from Mad Dog Mania stated. “After attending the soccer tournament and seeing all that the region offers.”
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.