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The Eagles Soccer Classic has come a long way since the boys and girls started kicking the ball at Camarillo Parks.
The past four years have become paradise for the best Cal South Soccer organizations competing at Pleasant Valley Fields. It's a 55-acre park, featuring 11 full-size fields or 25 smaller fields for youth soccer matches, Steve Sampson, the former U.S. Men's soccer team coach, describes the venue as one of the best in the nation since the fields opened in January 2010.
There's no denying the 150 teams playing soccer in Saturday's and Sunday's ninth annual event have tons of talent as part of Cal South Soccer.
The motto is "Play Smarter. Perform Better."
Triax Technologies Inc. had its booth on the sidelines. In two of the recent Eagles tournaments, players were wearing the head or skull bands, wired with sensors for the Smart Impact Monitors.
"We have partnered with the Eagles Soccer Club, universities and high schools," said Thomas Hollingsworth, a sales representative.
Triax uses state-of-the-art technology to measure G-force impacts in contact sports.
The company had an information booth with computer and smartphone gadgets displaying how players, parents, coaches, trainers and doctors can learn from all the data.
Hollingsworth is a part of the family-owned Connecticut business.
"We will be at Santa Barbara City College the second week of August, working with the football, basketball and soccer teams for our systems," he said.
"A bunch of youth football organizations will be with us in the next few years.'
"It's very positive," said Hollingsworth. "We're here to educate."
Sampson, the Eagles' executive and technical director, is behind what Triax is doing with all contact sports.
"Relate this to cigarette smoking decades ago," said Sampson, who lives in Agoura Hills. "We didn't realize how, but we now know it kills."
Head-on is one of the programs Triax promotes. It explains everything one needs to know about concussions.
Sampson explained that teaching 11U players and younger how to head a soccer ball might not be to their best interest.
"There's serious debate about this," he said. "Not only in soccer, but football as a contact sport."
Hunter Hollingsworth is director of the Impact Monitor Team.
Hunter and his brother Thomas grew up playing contact sports like soccer, hockey and lacrosse.
"With World Cup soccer concussions, there's an awareness with people," Hunter said.
Even cheerleading is high on the list because of the flyers and elbows hitting heads.
"We want to identify athletes and incidents," said Hunter.
Thomas Hollingsworth knows athletes need time off from sports when they have suffered a concussion.
Paul Morehead, of Oxnard, serves as the Eagles Classic director. His daughter, Kailee, was an 8U player when he became involved with the Eagles. She's now a senior at Oxnard High with offers to play college soccer.
The inaugural Eagles Summer Classic in 2006 featured 80 to 90 teams at Valle Lindo and Freedom parks.
"I had to turn away 30 teams," said Morehead of this year's event.
"As of now we could have 50 or 60 more teams, but Ventura and Thousand Oaks shut down their fields in preparation for fall soccer.
"We kept teams off the fields last month, so we could have world-class fields," said Morehead.
There are 14 fields in use at Pleasant Valley Park, along with two fields at Valle Lindo, one at the Ventura College Sportsplex and one at CSU Channel Islands.
Sampson, who was an Eagles consultant in 2008 and 2009, is proud of the club's six national championships.
"We're lucky to have him," said Michael Alexander, the Eagles 13U Presidents Cup national championship coach.