Ten years ago, the Park City Extreme Cup began with a tournament featuring about 60 youth teams.

This year, the tournament has expanded to 334 teams playing at 10 venues, including the Oakley Rodeo Grounds and J.R. Smith Elementary School in Heber.

"We're using every single venue that's available up here in Park City except City Park Ecker Hill, Willow Creek, Trailside, the North 40/Treasure Mountain complex, Park City High School and Knoop Park," Paul Baniewicz, the Park City Soccer Club president, said. "We'd use City Park too, but the Arts Festival is going on that weekend too."

But, though City Park will be busy at the same time of the tournament (which begins on Aug. 1 and runs through Aug. 3), Baniewicz said it's no coincidence that the Extreme Cup shares a weekend with the Arts Festival.

"Arts Festival is going on at the same time and we do that on purpose to showcase what's going on in Park City," he said. "People who come to the tournament like to take a 'staycation' come for soccer, stay for vacation."

The teams come from all over the Mountain West for the tournament, he added.

"We get teams from Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho," he said. "And sometimes we get teams from California and Arizona. But most of the teams are from Utah."

Tournament director Shelley Gillwald said the Cup has grown quite a bit even since last year.

"We hit 256 teams last year, and now we have 334, so we've increased significantly," she said.


"We've had more than 500 teams apply for or inquire about the tournament and had to turn nearly a third of them away."

The Extreme Cup would certainly be interested in expanding further, Baniewicz said, if more space became available.

"If we had more facilities, we could possibly have a tournament with 500 teams," he said. "That would put us on the map. Right now we're a very strong regional tournament but not a strong national tournament."

The Extreme Cup features teams of players as young as 8 years old up to under-18 teams. The older age groups are mainly for boys' teams, as high-school-age girls are preparing for their school seasons.

Gillwald said there are several reasons Park City is the perfect place to host this tournament.

"We have the best fields anywhere," she said. "Between the city and the Basin Rec crew, our fields are just incredibly well-maintained."

"I don't think people understand how lucky we are to have such awesome venues and fields to play and practice on," Baniewicz added.

Gillwald continued by saying the volunteers and organizers who put on the event make it run more smoothly than many similar tournaments.

"We've got an incredible committee and it's a very well-organized tournament," she said. "Our schedules come out at least three and a half weeks in advance. We pride ourselves on being really efficient and really thorough."

And, Baniewicz added, the elevation doesn't hurt Park City's appeal.

"It's cooler to play up here than down in the valley," he said. "People are looking to escape the heat."

Because of all the reasons people love the Extreme Cup, Baniewicz said he thinks the tournament will continue to become more popular.

"It's kind of become Utah's tournament," he said. "That's Park City, who doesn't love Park City?"