On May 19-20, travel industry partners in Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will welcome the 25th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic, a youth soccer tournament sanctioned by the N. C. Youth Soccer Association.
Hosted by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC, the Seaside Soccer Classic provides a fun, safe, and competitive opportunity for teams of all levels. The goal of the event is to provide players, from ages 9 to 19 years old, a competitive end-of-season tournament in a community that offers the families a beautiful weekend surrounded by sun, sand, and the Wilmington Riverwalk.
According to Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC Tournament Director Dani Pittman, this year’s tournament will host 275 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Each team consists of an average of 15 players. All but 40 local teams will travel from out of town. Each of the 4,125 players is expected to be accompanied by multiple family members. Additionally, 300 coaches and 175 referees are expected to accompany the teams. During the two-day tournament, the majority of the participants and their families will stay at a variety of hotels and shop, dine and play in local establishments.
“Based on participant numbers provided by event organizers, the 25th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic will generate approximately $1.82 million in direct visitor spending in New Hanover County,” states Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “Using a conservative 2.5 multiplier, the total economic impact of this tournament will be approximately $4.55 million.”
This year’s Seaside Soccer Classic will take place at several soccer fields in New Hanover County, including: Cape Fear Regional Soccer Park, Hugh MacRae Athletic Park/Roland Grise, Veterans Park, Eaton Fields/Ogden Park, and Northern Regional Park.
“The Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC is excited to be celebrating the 25th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic. Over the years, the club has continued to see growth in the event and provided the community with a positive economic impact,” states Dani Pittman. “The 25th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic could not be possible without the support of New Hanover County Parks and Rec and the City of Wilmington, and the use of their facilities. We would also like to thank the hotels in our area for continually accommodating the parents and players who continue to come back each year; they do an unbelievable job of finding that balance with our soccer families and our beach-goers.”
“Hosting a regional youth soccer championship provides Wilmington and our island beaches with a great opportunity to showcase the destination to families who are traveling from our top visitor feeder markets,” said Hufham. “We hope the players and their families enjoy their visit and return for future tournaments and vacations.”