Extreme Cup to bring in extreme amount of teams | ParkRecord.com

Extreme Cup to bring in extreme amount of teams

Hundreds of youth soccer teams to flock to Summit County

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

A participant kicks back his leg to prepare to take a shot during the Extreme Cup two years ago. The Park City Soccer Club is hosting the annual tournament from July 27-29 in Park City, Heber and Oakley, and is expecting roughly 484 teams to participate.

After two weeks of hosting youth softball and baseball tournaments, Park City will be taken over by soccer clubs from around the region.

From July 27-29, 484 youth teams from Utah and its surrounding states will travel to Park City, Heber and Oakley for the Park City Soccer Club's 14th annual Extreme Cup tournament, one of the largest U.S. Youth Soccer sanctioned tournaments in Utah.

Park City Soccer Club has worked on the event all year, as it's one of its biggest fundraisers. Shelley Gillwald, executive director of the local club, said the hard work is worth it, as she enjoys the nature of the tournament.

"We absolutely love hosting this tournament," Gillwald said. "We love showing off Park City's incredible venues. The quality of our fields — and I can't say this enough — the quality that the fields crews and parks crews around here put into our venues and maintaining them is second to none in the state. We have, by far, the best fields in the state."

The event has grown to be so popular that Gillwald and company have turned down more than 125 teams for last year's event. Gillwald expects they'll have to deny about 100 teams this year, as many coaches will make their pitch to be included on Tuesday, the event's check-in date.

The fact that teams are being turned away says a lot about the growth of this tournament, Gillwald said. The event drew roughly 40 to 50 teams when it was first started. It's grown by nearly 450 teams, but the development also brought challenges.

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"We ran out of field space here," Gillwald said. "The county encouraged us to move out [to South Summit], so we did. That was our first big expansion.

"And then, we were turning away a crazy number of teams, 150-200 teams. Without any more field space in Park City, we had to go. We found another partner, so we partnered with the Heber Valley Soccer Club."

The Park City Soccer Club's partnership with the South Summit Soccer Club and the Heber Valley Soccer Club has made the tournament more manageable.

"It's really become kind of a Wasatch Back collaborative effort to be able to host all of these teams," Gillwald said. "We could not do it without those partners. Both organizations run impressive venues."

While the number of teams could make this year's lineup different, last year's tournament hosted 65 brackets, with up to five levels of age groups in each bracket. The Park City Soccer Club likes to create a lot divisions to create an even playing field.

"We can take teams of all abilities," Gillwald said. "It mirrors our club and we think it mirrors the community, as a whole."

Gillwald said locals shouldn't worry about the event creating traffic or bringing big crowds to town, since games are located in different areas of the Wasatch Back.

"We know it's big, but the tournament community itself goes out of our way to be responsive to the community," Gillwald said. "We try to manage the impact and manage the trash. All the things that could impact our community, we're trying to be aware of and we're trying to be really good partners."

The Extreme Cup will take place from July 27-29. Games will be played all over Summit County. For more information and a schedule of games, visit http://www.parkcityextremecup.com.