RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Top high school soccer players from around the country are competing in Raleigh this weekend.
The North Carolina Football Club Youth’s signature “visitRaleigh.com Soccer Showcase” brings in roughly 1,500 teams and more than 900 college coaches nationwide.
Players are looking to catch the eye of top recruiters, while coaches are searching for their next superstar team members.
“It’s just a lot of good teams,” Hampden-Sydney College Head Coach Tommy DiNuzzo said. “So you’re going to sit here and watch great games from eight or nine in the morning until five at night, and it’s going to fly by.”
The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance said over the four weeks, the event brings in the most hotel stays of any single sports event in the city, creating an estimated $ 27 million economic impact for the area.
“A lot of people coming to town and they fill up more than 30,000 hotel room nights,” GRSA Executive Director Scott Dupree said. “When you talk about the industry in general and in the sports tourism industry, which is so critical to this region and to our city, it’s the youth sports that is really the foundation of the industry.”
Dupree said while major events like NCAA college basketball games or the NHL Stadium Series provide big boosts to the local economy, it’s the consistency of many different amateur and youth sporting events throughout the year that are the bread and butter for Raleigh’s sports tourism.
“Those add up to enormous economic impact numbers that really drive the economy in this market and fill our hotels and restaurants,” Dupree said.
North Carolina Football Club Youth Director of Administration Bryan Bachelder said the Soccer Showcase success is a product of a strong and growing soccer community across the Triangle.
“This community has embraced soccer as an avenue to make better people and we’ve done that so well that this is ultimately the result of all that work,” Bachelder said. “I think it’s a big deal for for kids to be able to travel in from across the country. 35 states coming in here, you know, just to come in and play soccer in front of a bunch of college coaches.”