USA World Cup Soccer Stars Paul Caligiuri and Thomas Dooley search for the Ultimate Soccer Player
Youth Soccer News: Tournament Looks for the “Ultimate Soccer Player”
"This is going to be an amazing competition,” says Paul Caligiuri. “Players will need a lot more than determination to win. It'll take courage, skill and endurance.”
Read more on the Ultimate Soccer Player challenge, including tips from Paul Caligiuri on how to prepare for the competition
Ultimate. The World English Dictionary defines the word “ultimate” as “conclusive; final” or as “the highest or most significant.” What does it mean to BE the ultimate? What does it take to be the “ultimate soccer player”? This year, youth soccer players will find out.
Ask any soccer/football/fútbol fan around the world who is the “ultimate” soccer player, and right now most of them would say “Messi.” But what is it that makes Messi the “ultimate”? For former U.S. Men’s National Team player and captain Thomas Dooley, what makes the FC Barcelona forward the ultimate is his ability to go it alone against any opponent and win. That quality gave Dooley and former USMNT teammate Paul Caligiuri the idea to create a one-on-one challenge tournament to find the “ultimate soccer player.”
These two National Soccer Hall of Fame players with World Cup experience know great soccer. Caligiuri is well known as the man who made it possible for the USA to play in the 1990 World Cup by scoring his game-winning goal dubbed the "shot heard round the world." The USA had not qualified for a World Cup berth since 1950.
Teaming up with Innovative Health Solutions LLC (IHS), makers of H2O Overdrive™, Dooley and Caligiuri have created a competition that will test both field players and goalkeepers on an individual basis: the H2O Overdrive™ Ultimate Soccer Player and Ultimate Soccer Goalie Tournaments.
The competition is open to boys and girls aged 14 to 18, with five separate age groups for each. Players can choose to play up, if they wish.
In the tournaments, field players will go one-on-one for three minutes on a small field, with the winner moving on. Goalies will take part in an intense three-minute match on a field slightly larger than an eighteen-yard box. It is the limited time to compete that will make this contest different from any other.
While some may think a one-on-one tournament has little to do with real soccer, Caligiuri disagrees. "True, soccer is a team sport,” he says, “but it is packed with one-on-one face offs. For this reason, it is extremely important to practice and perfect the art of taking on a player one-on-one and learning to defend against a player one-on-one.”
Think of the excitement of watching Messi moving effortlessly down the pitch, taking on defenders and shedding them as easily as water off a duck’s back. Think of a forward breaking away and going one-on-one against the goalie, or the excitement of a penalty kick shootout. While soccer is a team sport, soccer is filled with one-on-one situations.
Dooley and Caligiuri have used their own experiences on the pitch against some of the great players of their day to help develop this competition. Their goal is to challenge players on an individual basis to see what they are made of. No help, no relief, no backup – just two players fighting to win. And the benefits for the players go beyond winning or losing. “This event is a great vehicle for development,” Caligiuri explains, “improving a competitor’s skills, positioning, ideas, imagination and confidence.”
The tournament also differs from many others because of the two men behind it. “This event has been crafted by professionals who have taught and played the game at its highest levels,” points out Caligiuri.
Dooley, who is an athlete ambassador for H2O Overdrive™, was born in Bechhofen, West Germany, to a German mother and American father. He began his professional playing career with FC Homburg in the German Third Division, eventually moving on to powerhouse teams Bayer Levekusen and Schalke 04. In 1992 he took on U.S. citizenship and joined the Men’s National Team as it prepared for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The sweeper finished his National Team career with 81 caps and seven goals over a seven year period. Dooley, who was named the 1993 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.
Caligiuri, who is also an H2O Overdrive™ athlete ambassador, made his own “ultimate” statement in 1989 when he scored the “shot heard ‘round the world” against Trinidad and Tobago to send the U.S. to the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Then in he scored the United States’ first World Cup goal in 40 years, against Czechoslovakia. In addition to over a decade with the National Team, where he scored five goals and earned 110 caps, Caligiuri played for both Columbus Crew (1996) and LA Galaxy (1997-2001) in the MLS. Caligiuri was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Ultimate Soccer Player and Ultimate Soccer Goalie competitions begin in Coronado, California, on Saturday, June 2. Players will meet on the field of battle at Coronado Cays Park, with views of the San Diego skyline and the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. The next week the tournament will move up to Irvine Valley College in Orange County, followed by Ontario Soccer Park in San Bernardino County, the Rose Bowl Soccer Fields in Los Angeles, and finally the campus of UC Irvine for the semifinals and finals. At that point, only the best of the best will have survived.
"Players will be individually tested,” says Dooley. “They'll have to prove their striking, dribbling, defending and goal tending skills. This is not just any competition. This is the ultimate challenge; a one-on-one battle to prove that you are the best."
"It's gonna be war out there,” says Caligiuri. “Players will need a lot more than determination to win. It'll take courage, skill and endurance.”
H2O Overdrive Ultimate Soccer Player(TM) and Ultimate Soccer Goalie Tournaments Schedule:
June 2, 2012 (Saturday)
Coronado Cays Park
100 Grand Caribe Causeway, Coronado, CA
(Coronado Cays Blvd at Grand Caribe Parkway)
June 9, 2012 (Saturday)
Irvine Valley College
5500 Irvine Center Dr. Irvine, CA
June 23, 2012 (Saturday)
Ontario Soccer Park
2200 East Philadelphia Ontario, CA 91761
July 1, 2012 (Sunday)
Rose Bowl Soccer Fields
800 N Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91103
August 11-12 (Saturday & Sunday)
University of California, Irvine- Crawford Hall
903 W. Peltason Irvine, CA 92697
For more information and to register to see if you can be the Ultimate Soccer Player, visit the Ultimate Soccer Player website.
Who will be the Ultimate Soccer Player?
The excitement is just beginning. As Caligiuri says, "While soccer is a team sport, it is packed with one-on-one face offs. For this reason, it is extremely important to practice and perfect the art of taking on a player one-on-one and learning to defend against a player one-on-one. This event is a great vehicle for development; improving a competitor’s skills, positioning, ideas, imagination and confidence. The H2O Overdrive Ultimate Soccer Player and H2O Overdrive Ultimate Soccer Goalie are unlike any other tournaments that exist.”
Who is the company behind the competiition?
Why is H2O Overdrive holding this soccer event? We asked and they said: "Simply put, we caught soccer fever. We wanted to become a part of the excitement fueling over 17.5 million in the U.S. today. This is why we created the H2O Overdrive Ultimate Soccer Player. It is an event specifically designed to enhance the skills and creativity of every player. Players are only able to unlock their potential when they are required to put their technical skills to the test. Getting involved in the soccer world opened our eyes to the vast audience of those who wish to improve their skills, challenge themselves and prove that they have what it takes, we’re giving them the opportunity to do that," said Randy Olshen, co-founder of Innovative Health Solutions LLC (IHS), makers of H2O Overdrive™ and H2O Overdrive HYDRATE™
Why H2O Overdrive a good choice on and off the field? What makes this one different?
“Sports drinks are a dime a dozen. What we make is a superior hydration beverage that offers zero grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, and every vitamin, mineral, electrolyte and amino acid your body needs for energy stamina and recovery, all in 50 calories. That’s one-in-a-million. That’s H2O Overdrive,” said Terry Giles, co-founder and developer.
Why are proceeds going to a charity?
“H2O Overdrive is about more than making an incredible product. With each event we hold, we want to give back to the communities that help us grow, we want to support worthy causes and work to educate people about health, wellness and fitness. Our goal is to work to improve quality of life – through our product, our events and our charitable donations,” said Olshen.
Good luck to all the players - we can't wait to see who will become the Ultimate Goalie and Player!
Related Article: Who Will Be The Ultimate Soccer Player? New Article: LA Galaxy Joins Ulitmiate Soccer Player