Sigma travelled to North Carolina for the recent Score at the Shore showcase in Greensboro, North Carolina recently marking the first time in the academy's young history that every team participated at the same competition.

According to Sigma technical directory Bobby Smyrniotis, the goal was to strengthen the foundation of the club, expose players to a higher level of soccer, and perhaps open some doors for players ready to move into the U.S. college ranks.

Mission accomplished on all counts. But after two years attending the Score tournament, there was another accomplishment.

"It was mentioned to me down there, speaking with a number of coaches from the North Carolina area, that: 'When it comes to the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, you've put Sigma on the map.'

"We won one division last year, and did very well with our two older teams this year," said Smyriontis. "At the end of the day, our boys' performances create a good vibe for our Academy in that part of the country

Sigma was led by its A1 squad. The 1993 born players emerged from a hotly competitive draw that included more than 50 teams to reach the final four. Despite losing the semi-finals to DFW of Texas. Coach Smyrniotis said the A1s' success went beyond the results.

"The A1s did a fantastic job on the field in providing an attractive brand of soccer, for these coaches to watch, it has been evident, from feedback I had while in Greensboro from the coaches in person, and upon my return, in the form of emails from coaches, there is a lot of interest in our players," explained a pleased Smyriontis.

"As we have always said, our No.1 priority is to provide the players an opportunity at a future so they play the game and get an education. In order to do this, we have to put a positive product on the field. The team did that over the weekend."

In all, Sigma took its entire club, five teams, to North Carolina. The trip was in excess of 1,000 kilometres and gave the players a chance to bond with each other.

"It's the first time we've done that, (take all our teams to the same tournament). I've never actually thought of the distance that we were going to cover, but we've always thought that it was vital that we have one event a year that we can take all our teams as a group," he explaned.

"It's healthy for the academy for all our players to be together, where they all get to learn a little about each other on and off the field. As a club, we are responsible for the players.. They travel with us, and in the end of the day we are trying to give them that experience. That this is football at the next level.

Unlike a tournament where the ultimate goal is to win. A showcase event like the Score Showcase provides other rewards. And for Sigma, getting a chance to showcase the individual teams and the club's philosophy to a large group of U.S. College recruiters was more important than silverware.

"You always want your older teams to do the best as possible at these types of tournaments. It was a showcase event and when the A1's played, there were plenty of coaches in attendance," said Smyrniotis. "The goal is to play as many games as possible. (At the Score), all our teams played a good amount of games which was good for their development."

There was no denying that Sigma's presence at the tournament was felt by the uniform style of play, the discipline and respect of the players. Even the coaches on the bench showed the soccer fans in attendance the Sigma way.

"This is natural for us. We like to make sure that things are done in an organized fashion. This means that warm ups are done consistently, it matters how we hold ourselves on the bench as players and coaches. This is something that is seen by the scouts in attendance."

Smyrniotis said that when he worked as a scout in Europe, he always looks at the character of the people on the bench, on the field and off.

According to Smyriontis, college coaches remarked that with Sigma, they could see the quality of the teams running through all age groups. It was evident in the fact that the three oldest teams came tops in their groups in the preliminary stages, while the two younger teams showed great promise playing teams that in some cases were much older than they were.

"Our 97s played teams made up of mostly 95s in some cases," said Smyrniotis. "That turned some heads. Our little guys proved to be a handful for the bigger players."

Smyrniotis was very pleased at the spirit on display by the parents in attendance. Supporters could be spotted all the teams games. Players came out in the stifling heat to cheer each other on when their games were done for the day.

"The support we had as a whole academy was fantastic. We had more than 30 hotel rooms of parents and supporters. Parents came and supported each team. That was great for the boys, and it was great for building the culture that we are looking to build at Sigma.

"And we even had a vuvuzela in the crowd."