I love HOCO but summer season tests a team far more.
Interesting perspective. But I always considered HoCo the more fair test of how team A compares to team B, because the teams are playing one game per week, with fixed rosters, on the same fields and with the same refs, and each team gets only one shot at the others (plus playoffs) as part of league play. In summer tournaments you never know what roster a team is bringing and whether they beefed up with out of state kids, plus they are playing five games in one weekend, and teams play each other multiple times over the course of the fall and/or summer. So I always thought that a HoCo game (esp. a playoff game) is the one that "counts." Just my two cents.
One of the big benefits of a club-level league like HoCo is that there are no realistic excuses of why "normally we would have won that game." The competitiveness is as transparent as it can really be through the season. All players and coaches from AA to Elite should be blocking off those 7-8 weekends as "in season" for lax. Yeah of course, "well, a school conflict" and "but COVID," family emergencies etc, but those things happen to all teams at all ages, and a good club and good coach (from AA to Elite) can adjust for 1 kid being out on a random HoCo sunday. But absolutely, 100% of contributing players will be there 6 of 7 HoCo games.
Compare that to summer and fall tournaments and winter events (box, 6v6 etc) where there's always an excuse of "why we didn't have our top 5 guys." Or "we didn't win because the other team flew in 6 kids from TX who played entire games in tryout pinnies."
And yes, it's very ironic that the clubs who so vocally claim to "develop players" also stake their pride and their rankings on summer tournament wins where they are flying in guest players. 91 and Crabs immediately come to mind, but even FCA White used FCA Blue players in their tournament last week.....though that's hardly "flying in a player" I suppose. At least those kids all work out together all year.