Commentary

Holiday rush slows national play

Updated: December 21, 2009, 4:33 AM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPN RISE

Two events, 2,500 miles apart -- one big impact on the national rankings.

While most teams from the seven winter-playing soccer states are on holiday break this week, there are two tournaments that merit mention in this week's Places To Be.

TRI-VALLEY CLASSIC

FACTS: This 48-team girls' soccer event in Danville, Calif., starts Monday and concludes Wednesday with each team playing four matches. Teams from California, Hawaii, Nevada and Texas will be competing.

ON DISPLAY: Eight teams in the current girls' soccer FAB 50 will be playing this week. The top bracket features No. 9 Carondelet, No. 11 La Costa Canyon, No. 18 San Ramon Valley, No. 19 Archbishop Mitty, No. 37 Foothill and No. 41 Monte Vista -- all from California. No. 32 Nolan Catholic from Texas and N0. 48 Castro Valley from California are competing in another bracket. The rankings do not reflect last week's results as the next FAB 50 will be released Tuesday. The winner of the premier bracket will be a solid Top 10 team heading into the New Year.

HIGH SCHOOL INVITATIONAL

FACTS: This 24-team boys' soccer tournament in Tampa, Fla., started Saturday and runs through Wednesday. This mostly Florida event includes FAB 50 No. 6 New Orleans Jesuit (La.).

ON DISPLAY: This event is broken into eight three-team groups with each group winner advancing for a shot at the championship. New Orleans Jesuit opened with a 4-2 win over Tampa Jesuit (Fla.) to cap the first day of action. The tournament includes FAB 50 No. 17 Tampa Prep, No. 43 Tampa jesuit and No. 50 Gaither. Gaither lost in its opening match.