Nearly 200 teams prepare for 7th Lititz Summer Showcase 100 college coaches expected to be on hand

By on July 25, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

When Warwick’s $2.5 million artificial turf facility at Joseph Grosh Field sustained a sink hole at the end of June, the Warriors’ fall sports coaches weren’t the only ones who became concerned.

Organizers of the annual Lititz Summer Showcase also had a few sleepless nights.

So when word was released at the July 17 Warwick School Board meeting that the turf field would be fixed early this week — just in time for this year’s big soccer tournament which is slated for July 27-29 — it was welcome news.

"We were real worried about Grosh Field because of the sink hole," tournament director Mike Logan said, "but the school district really did a nice job of getting that ready for fall sports, of course, but also for the tournament."

The seventh edition of the Lititz Summer Showcase will feature 188 teams from eight different states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia.

Due to school construction in previous years, the tournament expanded to other sites outside of Lititz. But this year, all games will be played at fields within the Warwick School District. Eleven fields will be available at the high school and middle school complex, primarily for the U15 and older age groups in college showcase games. There will be five more fields at Bonfield Elementary, four at the Warwick Linear Park for the younger players, and five at Forney Field in Rothsville.

"We were real concerned about the drought," Logan said. "But we got some good weather lately and the school district has been really trying to help out with watering the fields. Some of the newer fields are a little rough, but other than that, it’s coming together great."

The reputation of the Lititz Summer Showcase is also doing great. According to Logan, a record number of teams (220) applied for this year’s event.

"We only took 188 — that’s about all we can fit this year," Logan said. "Years back, we had to spread out to other venues and we wanted to bring everything back into Lititz."

Many of the teams that missed the cut were older age-group squads who were interested in playing in front of college coaches. In 2011, many of those players received additional exposure during a showcase event on the opening night. That will be continued this year, with exhibition games being held on Friday night both at Grosh Field and the lighted soccer field behind the middle school.

"I think what’s really unique about the tournament now, and where we’ve really solidified ourselves, is that college showcase," Logan said. "We have over 100 U15 and older teams and we have about 100 college coaches coming to watch. We’ve developed a good reputation for ourselves and the reason we’re turning away a decent amount of older teams is because it’s a good college showcase. Kids are ID’d every year and the college coaches say that it’s a great time for them to come in and look at kids. So it’s worked out very well."

The tournament is also working out very well for the local economy. About one week ago, Logan learned that there have already been 1,000 rooms reserved in hotels in Lititz and surrounding areas by teams traveling for the weekend.

"We’re probably going to hit 1,500 room nights that are reserved," Logan said. "That also means buying food and going shopping and all that kind of stuff. So we’re hoping it helps a little bit in the economy."

The Warwick High School boys and girls soccer booster clubs, in addition to the Lititz Youth Soccer Club (LYSC), work in unison to make the showcase a success.

"All three of those groups work together and do all the volunteering and organizing," Logan said. "That’s really kinda unique. You will not find that in Lancaster County, I’ll guarantee you that, where the school programs and the club programs are working together."

Furthermore, Logan emphasized his appreciation for the Warwick School District and its cooperation. He pointed to a quote by Superintendent Dr. April Hershey in the July 19 issue of the Record Express regarding the turf field, in which she said, "We are very excited that it may be completed in time for the soccer tournament (on July 29). That’s very good news."

In response to those remarks, Logan said, "Wow, that means a lot. They’ve always been great hosts, that they go that extra mile to be able to allow us to hold this event, that’s really cool. It’s just really great that the school is willing to help us out like this so that the community as a whole can benefit. They don’t have to do this. So we really do appreciate the school district stepping up to the plate."

For more information, go to lititzsummershowcase.org or contact Logan at 286-4588 or loganwhs@verizon.net. More SHOWCASE, page A14