Operations at Foley Sports Tourism (FST) changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Events became smaller initially and gave the organization the ability to focus on implementing additional safety equipment and protocols. The return of the Publix SuperCup this month will be a huge step back to larger-scale events.
The Publix SuperCup, now in its 13th year, is a joint venture between Snap Soccer and the Perdido Bay Futbol Club (PBFC). It began in 2007 but by 2014 had grown so large they had to split it into two weekends to accommodate all the teams that wanted to play.
This year, Tournament Director Zack Touchstone said they are expecting 135 teams for Girls Weekend and 155 teams for Boys Weekend. The teams range in age divisions from U9 to U19 and hail from around the Southeast.
Touchstone said the size of the event isn’t making people shy away and he thinks it’s because of the way Snap Soccer and FST have worked together to develop a safety plan to keep everyone protected.
“The Supercup always has a great showing and I think a lot of it is due to the great fields and location, time of year, and relationships that PBFC and Snap Soccer have built over the last ten years,” Touchstone explained. “As for this year, I think many are ready to get back to the fields since the spring was cut short and feel more comfortable doing it with organizations like Foley Sports Tourism and Snap Soccer. As an organization, we are trying anything we can to make sure social distancing is possible by doing away with award ceremonies and reducing Sunday’s games. At the same time, we feel comfortable hosting these events in Foley due to the many protocols they have put in place.”
Foley Director of Recreation and Sports Tourism, David Thompson said these events are the ones the organization has been preparing for since the pandemic first hit.
“Even during the Stay at Home Order, we were looking toward the future by investigating ways we can work together to keep both visitors and residents safe,” Thompson said. “Over the last few months, we’ve worked tirelessly with our incredible event planners to always put safety at the forefront. While the Publix SuperCup will be a huge step toward hosting events on a pre-pandemic scale, it does not mean we will stop working. Safety is a top priority and always will be. We will continue to find ways to host economically impactful events that never, ever sacrifice the wellbeing of our visitors or our residents.”
For more information on the Publix SuperCup or any FST event, visit our events page.