BRADENTON, Fla. — More than 2,000 soccer players under the age of 19 are uniting in Bradenton, Fla. to participate in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships at the Premier Sports Campus this week.
The event, taking place Tuesday through Sunday, will see over 104 youth soccer teams from various locations across the U.S. competing for the title. Event officials say the championships will have an estimated economic impact of over $4 million, with over 5,000 people—in addition to the athletes and coaches—in attendance.
In an interview done by the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Elliott Falcione, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says “the event is a big get for the area. Hosting sporting tournaments, especially during the typically slower summer months, is good way to boost Manatee County’s tourism revenues. This caliber of event will help us big on scoring the bid for other high and world caliber sporting tournaments.”
He also mentions in the same interview that “when parents of athletes come to the Bradenton area for the first time, they come back for vacation 74% of the time. That number is a bit lower than leisure visitors, but still significant.”
Originally, the U.S Youth Soccer Championships were scheduled to take place in Phoenix. In the spring months, officials moved locations at the last minute due to concerns that Arizona would not be open in time due to Covid-19 regulations.
To fund the event so quickly, Manatee County put $90,000 towards the event while Sarasota County contributed another $20,000 according to Visit Sarasota County director of sports Shelby Connett in the same interview with the Sarasota Harold Tribune.