To put it simply, college coaches love small events. Two adjacent fields with eight well-stocked teams seems rather perfect when it comes to ease and efficiency. Instead of wasting time navigating a hectic map and schedule, the focus is put on making strong evaluations against evenly matched teams.
One could make an argument that this weekend’s Big 4 Champions League is the most elite event of its size. Hosted by Big 4 HHH coach Billy McKinney, the winner-take-all playoff format adds incentive to the November recruiting period where the main priority is usually to get exposure.
McKinney – a former Denver standout under Jamie Munro – wanted to create a super competitive format as well as a manageable atmosphere for recruiters, likely limiting one-sided games.
“To put it bluntly, I’ve been to too many tournaments where there are blowouts and that isn’t the best environment for college prospects to thrive and get looks,” McKinney says. “At big tournaments, coaches are seeing the kids for one half and then switching fields. Now because of the venue and format at our event, most coaches are getting to see kids for three halves at the very least. It’s a much easier atmosphere for everybody.”
The fall recruiting period is so condensed, he says, that if club coaches put their kids in the wrong tournaments, many players end up slipping through the cracks until the spring or summer. This tournament has proven to be successful in its previous two years of existence, as the majority of Division’s Top 20 programs end up making appearances.
Saturday’s 2018 version at Penn Charter (Pa.) will feature SweetLax, Madlax, LI Express, LI Express North, 3d Pacific, HEADstrong, Leading Edge and Big 4 HHH. On Sunday at Shipley School, the teams are SweetLax, Baltimore Crabs, Rock, HEADstrong, 3d Pacific, Madlax, Big 4 HHH and LI Express.
I’ll be there on Saturday to cover the freshmen portion. Look at the entire schedule here and follow @tyxanders for updates throughout the day: