Triangle to get a kick start from sports

December 11, 2009 8:57:18 PM PST
A couple of soccer tournaments will put some bounce in the Triangle's economy this weekend. As kids and college students hit the field for soccer tournaments, local leaders expect their parents to take out their wallets.

"This is our highlight, our signature event for the year," said William Davis with Cary Parks and Recreation. "We worked hard to try and get this and we're working hard to keep it."

At first mention 8,500 fans may not sound impressive, but when you multiply it by three that are sold out, it's a different playing field.

"It brings a lot of people in it fills the stadium there was standing room only tonight," Davis said.

From Virginia and Winston-Salem to Akron, Ohio everyone flocked from all corners of the soccer map Friday.

"And of course it's good for our Carolina and Wake Forest too because it's good to be supported well with the folks," Operations Director Buck Maddin said.

And they brought with them an appetite for food, beverages and memorabilia.

Nate Esler, 17, from Illinois attended a high school tournament with 400 teams Friday night. He says he probably wouldn't be in Cary, if it weren't for the soccer park.

"Maybe for a vacation or something, but other than that probably not," Esler said.

"What more do you want as a youth playing in a tournament you know like the Raleigh Shootout and then being able to come watch the Final Four for the NCAA tournament," Mount Olive Soccer Coach Jerry Riggs said.

That's what Davis says is the bottom line., with more than a $300,000 impact with Friday night's games and a national title game Sunday, along with coverage on ESPN-U and a reputation that's becoming synonymous with collegiate sports.

"The bigger thing for us is the exposure, we're getting national exposure, we're on ESPN, I mean that's phenomenal for Cary," Davis said.

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