ON THE BALL: Doug Brady, general manager of the South Kingstown Holiday Inn, anticipates the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Tournament to be a great success. Above, he speaks with hotel employee Elizabeth Ashley.
If the past is any indication, then the recently announced U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 summer tournament at the University of Rhode Island in 2013 & 2014 should be a smashing success.
When the tournament was held at Lancaster, Penn., earlier this year, over 10,000 room nights were booked, raking in $15 million, according to Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and co-chair of the Lancaster Organizing Committee.
The number of visitors was estimated at 15,000, with over 4,000 players participating in a total of 450 soccer matches and 260 teams competing over the course of five days. Families and tournament officials traveled from as far as Maine and West Virginia to play in the weeklong tournament.
Local hotels and inns like the sound of those numbers.
“Soccer tournaments have been held [at URI] for many years, so for us it’s like adding extra days, which is fantastic,” said Douglas Brady, general manager at Holiday Inn in South Kingstown. He said the tournament will also help jump-start the summer tourism season, resulting in either more hours for current employees or hiring more staff.
Brady, like many other South County business operators knows that these soccer tournaments are great for the economy. The annual South County Seaside Classic is hosted each year by the South County Youth Soccer Club and takes place at URI in mid-July. It is one of the largest soccer tournaments in the region with about 160 teams from New England, New York, New Jersey and Canada.
According to the tournament committee, 1,700 rooms are booked at area hotels, and a total of $900,000 in revenue goes to local businesses. The U.S. Youth Soccer tournament is much larger, and the games will coincide with the Fourth of July. Both tournaments will be played at URI in the summer of 2013, and most likely 2014 as well. The event will be here June 27-July 2, 2013 and June 26-July 1, 2014, a week or two before the Seaside Classic.
“Not only are there the rooms but they will be looking for things to do, what to eat and what to see,” Brady said. “They usually stay for about three days so the families like to make it a mini-vacation while they are here,” he said. “We send our laundry out so even something like that will see a big increase, and we will have to order more supplies as well. It’s a big trickle effect.”