The 7 Elite Academy Tournament has been hailed as a “key event” in the development of the burgeoning youth soccer organization.
A total of 100 boys and girls teams from Utah and the western United States, including California, Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming, took part in the three-day competition – making it the biggest in 7EA's history.
A successful finals day saw twelve separate 7EA teams seal championship honours in St George, with ten more taking top-two spots.
And following a spectacular playing tour of Australia just before Christmas, 7EA bosses are keen to continue the Academy's expansion.
Wayne Scholes, Chief Executive of 7 Elite Academy, said: “The last six months has been a spectacular period of growth for 7EA, with new players and teams arriving on a regular basis thanks to our wide range of playing and social events.
“The fact that 100 teams took part in our competition shows it was a key date in how we continue that expansion process. People are keen to share in our elite training standards.
“Every aspect of the tournament was well attended, from the games themselves to the social events we held. I am so grateful to our staff, coaches, parents, officials and overall the players, for making it a great weekend.
“We have coaching staff who have worked with some of the world's best soccer players and we want to share those skills with as many young players as possible in the future.”
Hundreds of people attended a 7EA Tournament social event at Buffalo Wild Wings in St. George on Friday, generating vital funds for the Academy.
And a string of sponsors joined forces with the competition, giving club bosses access to official tournament coins and food for officials.
The tournament also featured referees from across both Utah and Nevada, giving players access to some of the finest officials in the region
Nick Nield, 7EA Tournament Director, added: “It has been twelve months of preparation, lengthy planning meetings and sheer hard work, but it was all worth it to see so many people support us this weekend.
“That support, from the community and local businesses, has been absolutely crucial in making the tournament a big success. Everyone had a brilliant time.
“Making sure the young players enjoyed themselves was central to our planning process and I like to think we achieved that.
“The participants, parents and coaches saw a huge difference in the way the matches were called after staff secured quality referees.
“There were less protests and a different feel around the referee lounges. Officials were sharing stories from the past and present. They enjoyed the penalty shoot-outs after each group play match and loved seeing the smiling faces.”
Daren Woolstenhume, General Manager of 7 Elite Academy, added: “The state referee administrator from Nevada, Mike Adams, was at the event and he was impressed with the whole event. He said they really enjoyed working with us and would be interested in continued interstate development and association.
“Nick led a fabulous and hard working team from our St. George, Salt Lake City, and Ogden offices whose dedication and professionalism was another standout success from this event.
“Every single person who contributed to the tournament deserves a huge pat on the back. They should all share in the success we have seen.
“They now face the challenge of making it bigger and better next year, but I am fully confident they will do that with ease.”