Thousands headed to Arizona for Desert Super Cup Soccer Tournament despite growing COVID-19 numbers

Despite calls to postpone the event because of the pandemic, Phoenix city officials confirm the Desert Super Cup Soccer Tournament will take place Nov. 27 to 29.

Hundreds of kids and their families are traveling to the Valley from out of state as county leaders warn events like this one could worsen the COVID-19 surge in Arizona.

It’s estimated that about 800 kids are taking part in the soccer tournament, add family and friends traveling with them, and there will be about several thousand people from out of state converging in Phoenix and other parts of the Valley.

City officials say they’ve been hosting sports tournaments at city complexes since September, but the Desert Super Cup will be the largest one so far during this pandemic.

"This is fantastic news. You’ve gotta believe people are going to be exercising the right protocols," said Sal Diciccio, Phoenix City Councilmember.

Arizona continues to report at least 4,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. Tournament organizers have taken into account the increase and have established strict guidelines such as, but not limited to:

  • City staff can modify game schedules to accommodate cleaning time and to reduce crowding.
  • Organizers must self-monitor practices and games.
  • Organizers must agree to comply with on-site city staff.

However, there is some opposition within the county. Maricopa County leaders have called on city officials to not go forward with the event.

"We’re not helping the case by allowing outside tournaments to play in the Valley," said Steve Gallardo, Maricopa County Supervisor, adding, "Have a pause, wait 30 days ... Tell these tournaments to come back in January. We can talk about resuming baseball, soccer and other sports."

Despite the pleas, city officials are moving forward with the tournament, with Diciccio saying, "The city of Phoenix could stop everything if it wanted to but it chooses not to do that. For a lot of reasons. Mental health matters as well. People want to live their lives and this is part of that. Having kids on the playground is a good thing."

Phoenix's Mayor, Kate Gallego, also weighed in on the matter, saying, "In the meantime, it is critically important that teams participating in this weekend’s tournaments follow the extensive restrictions the city has put in place.”

In addition to the Reach 11 and the Rose Mofford sports complexes in Phoenix being used, the tournament will also hold games at sports complexes in Scottsdale and Mesa.

For more information on the tournament, visit this link.