IRVINE — The summer tournament season commenced last weekend with Southern California Lacrosse Company‘s “SoCal Summer Kickoff.” The tournament was a family affair, centered around a row of food trucks and vendors displaying their fresh summer must-haves.

The tournament served as the perfect venue for eager club teams ready to, as the name suggests, kick off the dust from the spring and prepare for a summer sure to be filled with competitive lacrosse. The festival-style jamboree was comprised of five boys divisions (2021, 2022, 2023/24, HS JV, HS Elite) and a girls’ U13 division. In total 17 different youth programs competed, hailing from San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles.

, director of the tournament, was pleased with how the SoCal Summer Kickoff turned out and expressed his excitement for what future summers have to offer.

“Overall, it was a great first run for the SoCal Summer Kickoff,” Guy said. “The players all had seemed so excited to be back out on the lacrosse field after a short break. There was some great competition at all levels, and we could not have asked for nicer weather. A big thank you to all the coaches, parents, players and fans who came out to support this inaugural event! Next year we are planning on opening this up on the girls side, as well as bringing in some competition from NorCal and outside of the state.”

Of all the divisions, the boys 2023-24 group was the most populated, with nine teams in two pools. Mad Dog Lacrosse look poised to have a strong showing this summer, as both the Los Angeles and San Diego (Black) rosters went undefeated in their respective brackets.

SoCal Lacrosse Summer Kickoff
The San Diego and L.A. Mad Dog squads went mano a mano at the Summer Kickoff

A late Sunday morning schedule change allowed the two teams to play against each other. The LA boys ended up winning 10-2, but the competition was closer than the scoreboard suggested. The younger and slightly undersized SD Dogs put up a good fight against their brother program. Coach Dave McCarthy of the San Diego Dogs was proud of not only his boys but also of the Mad Dog organization in general.

“Mad Dog has grown significantly in the past year,”  McCarthy said. “I was real excited to play against the LA boys; it is always fun to battle it out against the family.”

Fun is what appeared to be taking place on the fields today, and when enjoyment mingles with the sport, a high level of competition inevitably follows.

StringKing at the SoCal Summer Kickoff
The StringKing Team showed up to kick off the summer.

Andy Barnett, half of the dynamic head coaching duo for the Beach Cities JV squad, was pleased with his team’s 3-1 record, as well as with the event itself.

“The competition was solid,” Barnett said. “There were a couple of standout teams who were able to elevate the level of play. The pace of the games were consistent and fast. I saw a high level of athleticism out there.”

SoCal Summer Kickoff
Onsite food trucks allowed families to stay on the fields at meal time.

What more could a coach ask for?

Ultimately, the first SoCal Summer KickOff was a success. “This weekend afforded our team the chance to bond and develop some cohesion with one another,”  said Che Woolery, the other half of Beach Cities head coaching unit. “This will help our team out a great amount when headed into higher intensity competition with teams from all across the country later on in the summer.”

Game results can be found here.

The iconic orange balloon flies high over the Summer Kickoff.

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