Extreme Cup returns to Park City
Following weeks in which softball and baseball have been front and center in Park City, soccer will take its turn in the limelight beginning July 30.
The Park City Extreme Cup, entering its 12th year, will draw 475 boys’ and girls’ soccer teams from five states (Utah, California, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado) for three days of competition. The tournament, hosted by Park City Soccer Club, will bring 8,500 players between the ages of 8 and 18 to Park City, with an estimated 30,000 spectators joining them.
The three-day tournament begins Thursday and ends Saturday, Aug. 1, and will utilize 40 fields in Park City, Oakley and Heber.
Tournament Director Shelley Gillwald said the event has become a great fundraiser for the Park City Soccer Club.
"It was started by the Park City Soccer Club as a fundraising event to keep teams affordable and help with scholarships," she said. "It’s been successful at that."
But, Gillwald added, as the tournament has continued to grow, the PCSC has included other local soccer organizations.
"We couldn’t do it alone," she said. "We’ve partnered with the South Summit Soccer Club and the Heber Valley Soccer Club."
Gillwald said the reason the tournament has become so popular is simple.
"Number one is Park City," she said. "The fields we have, between the Basin Rec crew and the Park City crew, are hands down the best fields in the state and everybody wants to come play on them. They know they’re quality fields and quality grass."
Plus, she added, escaping the Salt Lake Valley and the heat of California is another big draw.
"It’s a great staycation opportunity for families across the Valley to come up here," she said. "There’s so much downtime between games, too. People are already here, so from the Utah Olympic Park to the Arts Festival to the resorts to restaurants and shopping, there’s plenty for people to do."
In addition to having a great host city, Gillwald said the tournament is frequently complimented for its organization.
"Our organizing committee is incredible and this tournament is so well-organized," she said. "Our volunteers are so on it. It’s a positive experience for the teams. I get all kinds of emails after the tournament about how much fun they had and asking when it is happening the following year."
Though Gillwald said there will be plenty of elite-level soccer played next weekend, that’s not entirely what the Extreme Cup is about.
"Our top division is always premiere," she said. "But, from my perspective, a great soccer tournament is important at all levels across the board. Many of our age groups have five divisions so we have the opportunity to accept teams that may be new to competitive soccer. It’s really important to me that our tournament provides various levels of play."
Highlighting the upper-level brackets will be high-school club teams. Gillwald said it will be exciting to have varsity-level players in the tournament this year.
"We’re really fortunate this year that the timing is right," she said. "The official high-school season doesn’t kick off until Monday, so we have full brackets of high school club teams this year."
As the tournament gets bigger, Gillwald said the Extreme Cup has become more conscious of the environment and is trying to reduce its carbon footprint.
"The tournament is making a huge initiative to go green this year," she said. "We’ve done away with our tournament program. Those added up to about a million pages of print. We’re also giving every player aluminum water bottles and we have water stations at our different venues. We’re hoping to be a role model for other tournaments with that."
Gillwald said the Extreme Cup is partnering with Recycle Utah to help its green efforts.
To learn more about the Park City Extreme Cup, visit http://www.parkcityextremecup.com .
The lift, called Over and Out, will pick up guests near the base of the Tombstone Express lift and drop them off near the top of Sunrise lift, allowing skiers to more easily descend into Canyons Village.