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A Guide to Women’s Soccer Tournaments and Showcases

Playing in soccer tournaments is a great way to show college coaches that you can compete with other elite players. Knowing how to stand out at a soccer tournament and which ones to attend are key to getting recruited. Get answers to top questions about women’s soccer tournaments and showcases or use the list below to find a soccer tournaments near you. 

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Top questions about women’s soccer tournaments 

What are the different types of soccer tournaments?

League play: In league play, a group of soccer teams follow a predetermined tournament schedule where they compete against one another. 

Knockout tournaments: Also known as elimination tournaments, knockout tournaments immediately remove the losing team from the tournament bracket at the end of each game. 

Round-robin tournaments: Round-robin tournaments match up teams to compete against each other in a revolving format. Participants in a round-robin tournament are eliminated only after multiple losses.   

Group stage: Competing teams are divided into multiple groups, who then compete round-robins style. The winning team from each group then goes on to compete against each other in a round-robin style match until an overall winner is determined.  

Cup competition: Cup competitions are single elimination, like knockout tournaments. The winner of is awarded a “cup” trophy. 
Continental competitions: Each FIFA football confederation builds an all-star team from its member countries to compete for the Continental Football Cup.  

International tournaments: The FIFA Club World Cup is the largest international soccer tournament. Winners of each continental club compete at this international tournament. 

How do women’s soccer tournaments work? 

During a typical soccer tournament or showcase, athletes play up to 3-5 games in a single weekend with their club team. D1 programs and top schools at other division levels do most of their recruiting at tournaments and showcases. Why? Because it allows them to evaluate a lot of recruits and see the top club teams compete against one another in one place.  

This can be both good and bad for athletes. Yes, tournaments give you exposure to a lot of coaches. But coaches rarely watch full games. They’ll watch your team play for maybe 20 minutes and then they’ll move on because they have a lot of players and teams to see. That’s why it’s extremely important you make the most of every minute you step foot on the pitch. 

Do college coaches recruit at soccer tournaments? 

Coaches attend soccer tournaments to further evaluate their list of top recruits as well as find younger talent to start building out the next recruiting class.  

What do college coaches look for in recruits during a soccer tournament?

How do you play in soccer tournaments for recruiting? 

You need to play for a club team to participate in a soccer tournament for college exposure. There are a lot of girls’ soccer clubs that exist within your state or region, and each will fall under a larger umbrella of national leagues or programs. Choosing which to try out for may be determined by figuring out which clubs attend the best tournaments for college exposure. It’s also important to find a club that can help place your athlete on a team that best fits their skills and division level. If your athlete plays for the top soccer league but doesn’t receive playing time – they won’t get seen by college coaches. 

Which soccer club should you choose for tournaments?

Youth soccer clubs can be a great asset to your recruiting process because they allow you to play in big tournaments and gain exposure to college coaches. When deciding which club is right for you, find a team that will highlight your strengths on the field and provide you with opportunities to play in front of college coaches in your target division level.

How to choose the right soccer club for recruiting

Can you be a guest player in soccer tournaments? 

Absolutely! If your club team isn’t playing a particular tournament that you know you want to attend. You have options. Every soccer showcase or tournament will have a guest player registration form, which you can complete and have a team assigned to you.  

However, clubs don’t want their players to ultimately switch programs so they may be hesitant to encourage athletes to guest play for another team. Just remember that this is your recruiting process. So, if guest playing for another team gives you the best chance to be seen by the college coaches of your choice – do it. Don’t be afraid to talk with your club coach, they can help you find ways to get your athlete the exposure they need. 

How can you make sure college coaches find you at a soccer tournament? 

You must let college coaches know what soccer tournaments you’ll be playing in. They can’t recruit you if they don’t know you’re there. Every recruiting event should provide a list of colleges and division levels that will be in attendance. Use it! If they don’t, ask your club coach or email the tournament director directly. Be sure to provide the tournament field assignment, kick off time, your jersey color and number if possible. Send a follow up email about 2 weeks before the event. 

What does it cost to play in soccer tournaments? 

Showcase and tournament fees are typically included within your club or league membership. However, you should be prepared for travel, lodging and meal costs. Depending on the level, membership dues can range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year. Plus, some teams have a registration fee. These costs typically cover salaries, league and referee fees, state and national registration fees, and player insurance and player development programs.  

What are the best women’s soccer tournaments to play in? 

Soccer America Magazine surveyed leading youth coaches across the country and asked them to name the best tournaments for girls’ soccer based on competition, organization, facilities, showcase, and destination.  

Here are the top 5 ranked youth soccer tournaments for girls: 


Soccer tournaments allow you to play with and against some of the best high school soccer players in the nation while gaining exposure to college coaches. Let coaches know which tournaments you’ll be playing in! Access college coach contact information through your NCSA Recruiting Profile. Create a free recruiting profile today.  

Learn more about the different types of women’s soccer events: