By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/23/12
Last weekend’s Philly Showcase, run by NXTsports, drew close to 10,000 fans, featured approximately 1,750 players (including repeats) and drew over 150 coaches.
The event began with a five-game showcase, the Charity Showdown, on Friday as more than 100 college coaches saw the first high school-club lacrosse games ever held at PPL Park.
On Saturday nearly 500 elite juniors and sophomores competed in the 2014-15 day at Episcopal Academy and then 38 elite club and high school teams and almost 100 more uncommitted seniors competed in Day 3 at EA.
Andy Hayes, the tournament director and President of NXTsports, says it has become one of the top recruiting events – anywhere.
“Friday was definitely a special night,” said Hayes. “We had a lot of great players there and it was a great cause.
“We’re going to make it (PPL Park) the yearly place for the Charity Showdown, to kick off the Showcase weekend, which has blossomed into one of the best (recruiting) events in the country.”
Friday’s event raised money for HelpHOPELive in honor of Logan Schweiter, a 13-year-old Wayne native who is recovering from a serious brain injury sustained in a drowning accident 15 months ago. Hayes said the actual amount raised won’t be known for several more days since silent auctions are just closing this week.
The Showdown saw many elite clubs and teams from Philly as well as elite teams from as far as Canada (Hill Academy) and the Midwest (Titanium).
Hayes noted that even more elite players and teams from around the country competed on Saturday and Sunday at EA. That caused many coaches to spend their entire weekend in Philly.
“A lot of people came for the weekend,” he said. “We are really excited about the event; obviously having it here at Episcopal Academy was awesome.”
Hayes said tourney directors are not planning to add freshmen to the event. He also was pleased with the many top seniors on Senior Day; and mentioned that coaches continually remarked about the quality of the uncommitted seniors.
“We kind of like the format,” Hayes said. “We are getting great feedback from coaches and not everybody is recruiting 2016s. People keep coming back because we are doing something right.”
Why has the Philly Showcase become such a success?
“Philadelphia is central to everybody and obviously there are a lot of really great lacrosse players in the area,” Hayes said. “This year you also saw a lot of players from all over the country.
“A lot of these great players played all weekend. We are really excited about the event and how successful it was.”