Soccer tourney shines a light on region, state

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Tri-State took a huge step late last decade in establishing itself as a hub for youth soccer competition when it landed the privilege of hosting the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships for two years running, in 2009 and 2010.

Now, it and West Virginia as a whole have the opportunity to cement that standing by once again serving as the site for the tournament both this year and next.

This year’s championship competition begins with opening ceremonies this afternoon at Joan C. Edwards Stadium at Marshall University and concludes with finals on Tuesday. What makes hosting the tournament, one of four regional tournaments in the country, such a big deal is that more than 260 state championship teams and wild-card entries from 15 state associations from the eastern part of the nation will compete to advance to the national tournament. That means 5,000 players, coaches and tournament officials, along with an estimated 15,000 family members and other spectators, will descend on the area.

During 2009 and 2010, the championships brought an estimated economic impact of about $12 million each year, and this summer the impact could be as much as $15 million…

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