Coach and Analyst Herm Edwards Inspires Youth at Disney Soccer Showcase

When Disney re-branded its sports facilities at Walt Disney World to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, they promised to create the pre-eminent amateur athletic facility in the country.  Furthermore, Disney wanted to bring an ESPN experience to youth sports with video highlights and analysts.  That dream came true for teams participating in the Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma when former NFL player and coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards dropped by to give a motivational speech.  Continue reading for more photos and details of Disney’s Soccer Showcase.

Coach Herm Edwards at ESPN Wide World of Sports - Disney Soccer Showcase

ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards visits with the Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (N.Y.) club team at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex during the Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma. Photo by Heather Harvey courtesy of Disney Sports © Disney. All Rights reserved

From Disney Sports Press Release

Long Island, New York’s Smithtown Kickers were in for a surprise when long-time ESPN analyst Herm Edwards dropped in and gave the team an inspirational speech and meet-and-greet before their game.  The youth soccer club were competing in the 2013 Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  The Disney Soccer Showcase is the top recruiting tournament for high school soccer players in the nation.

Coach Herm Edwards at ESPN Wide World of Sports - Disney Soccer Showcase

ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards visits with the Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (N.Y.) club team at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex during the Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma. Photo by Heather Harvey courtesy of Disney Sports © Disney. All Rights reserved

 

Launched in in 2000 with 68 teams and eight fields, Disney’s Soccer Showcase has now grown to accommodate 664 teams on 29 fields including 15 at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  America’s best youth soccer clubs, featuring some of the country’s elite high school players, participate in the event that’s now rated as the country’s top youth soccer tournament by a Soccer America survey.  This year’s showcase features 336 boys teams and 328 girls teams.  There will be teams from Canada, Brazil, Japan, and Guatemala in attendance.

The eight-day event is expected to draw nearly 30,000 athletes, college coaches and fans to the complex, making it the leading college recruiting event in the country.  About 800 college coaches, including Bobby Clark, head coach of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer National Champions University of Notre Dame will be in attendance to scout.  Other top schools attending include Maryland, Duke, North Carolina, Creighton, Furman, Penn State, and UCF among others.

Disney's Soccer Showcase

“The Disney’s Soccer Showcase has become the premier college recruitment tournament in the country,” Mike Millay, Director of Business Development at Disney Sports said.  “The tournament encompasses all of the best elements teams, players and coaches are looking for including world class facilities, elite competition and fantastic weather—and all at the world’s No. 1 destination for family vacations and youth sports.”

The boys showcase includes teams from the No. 2 ranked FC Dallas and the No. 4 ranked Chicago Fire; while the girls showcase features teams from the No.1 ranked PDA (New Jersey) and the No. 3 ranked Eclipse Select (Chicago, IL).  In all, over half of the top 30 clubs will have teams represented at the Showcase. The rankings are according to SoccerAmerica.com.

Italian Pro Soccer team AS Roma at Walt Disney World

Disney Sports Development Manager Patrick Dicks (far left), Disney Sports Director of Business Development Mike Millay (left), A.S. Roma Director General of Football Operation Franco Baldini (right) and A.S. Roma Chief Executive Officer Mark Pannes (far right) pose with Mickey Mouse to announce that famed Italian football club A.S. Roma will become the official professional football club of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Phelan Ebenhack © Disney. All Rights Reserved

 

In 2012, the professional Italian football club AS Roma signed on as the title sponsor of the Disney Soccer Showcase, became the official professional football club of ESPN Wide World of Sports, and took up residence at the facility for their winter training session.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.