DUNBAR, W.Va. — The City of Barboursville and Kanawha County are coming together to once again welcome back thousands of youth soccer players, coaches, and their families to the area fields.
The West Virginia Soccer Association announced the 2024 U.S Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships will be held at the Barboursville Soccer Complex and the Shawnee Sports Complex June 26 to July 3, 2024.
Kanawha County commissioners and dignitaries gathered with the Barboursville Mayor and others to officially make the announcement at Shawnee Wednesday afternoon.
Commissioner Ben Salango said it’s one of the largest tournaments that gets hosted in the U.S and to now be hosting it again for the fourth year leaves a major impact on the area.
“They come to West Virginia and they love it, people love coming here and being able to stay at our facilities, make sure they’re out doing things, we’ve partnered with some of our white water rafting companies and others to give them a really good time when they come in to West Virginia,” Salango said.
The tournament will bring in approximately 250 boys and girls teams in the 12U through 19U age groups from Main to Virginia.
Barboursville Mayor Chris Tatum said all of the people coming in for it and those involved with putting it on have been making West Virginia stronger since efforts to bring the championship here began in 2009.
“Look at the investments made, the relationships forged, and the friendships made over those years that’s testament to the people all around us here that make these tournaments happen that keep U.S Soccer wanting to come back here,” Tatum said.
Salango said this tournament alone will generate a $28 million economic impact to the state and region.
He said another major tournament, the 2024 Eastern Regional Presidents Cup that will also be held next year will bring in an additional $10 million, and all of this will be followed by the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta which is $38 to $40 million in economic impact.
Salango said that knowing the significant impact it has on the area still continues to leave a big mark on him, too, as motivation to simply keep having it.
“I hope I’ve never just okay with it, you know, I hope I’m never not excited about it,” he said. “Even before Shawnee opened we were able to get these big tournaments but doing it year after year it’s still exciting to me.”
Salango said the tournament is too big to be held in one location alone and with the recent enhancements and expansion made to both the Barboursville and Shawnee complexes, it’s never been a better time to host it. Tatum agreed and is happy Barboursville gets to be on board.
“We’re happy to show off Barboursville, we’re happy to be partners with Shawnee, and every city between us that fills those city’s hotels, as well, rising tide lifts all boats and this is just one of those things,” Tatum said.
The regional winners in the 13U through 19U age groups a part of the upcoming tournament will earn a berth to the U.S Youth Soccer National Championships in Orlando, Florida in late July of next year.