Jefferson Cup brings money, masses to central Va.
By Charles Boehm
Richmond, Va. – Youth soccer tournaments have become a multi-billion-dollar business in the United States, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Jefferson Cup.
One of the biggest tourneys on the East Coast, “Jeff Cup” opens today at multiple locations – using 60-plus fields in all – across central Virginia and runs through the next two weekends, bringing thousands of participants and spectators as well as millons of dollars in economic activity.
Youth club Richmond Strikers host the event, and they report that more than 22,000 room nights have been booked for this year’s edition, meaning that anyone looking for accommodations in this area during Jeff Cup who hasn’t made reservations will likely find that there is literally no room at the inn.
Somewhere around 900 teams from across the continent, including one brave team from Matanuska SC in southern Alaska who have flown 15 hours to take part in Boys Weekend, will compete this year, while nearly twice that many applied for entry.
The Strikers and their local partners estimate that Jefferson Cup brings in some 30,000 visitors and adds over $15 million to the Richmond economy, and they firmly believe that it serves as an invaluable tool for the area’s tourism industry both now and for the future.
“The entire region is involved in some way with making this tournament a success,” said Strikers executive director Scott Turner in a press release. “Since we play on 60 fields in several different counties, our guests get to experience all our area has to offer. Many soccer families come back in the summer to spend more time at many of our historic sites. This is great exposure for Richmond.”
Jefferson Cup has grown so large that a qualifier weekend has been added in recent years, a third weekend where teams who do not attain admission to Jeff Cup can compete to prove themselves in order to gain entry for the following year. The tournament uses the Gotsoccer points system, making admission a very competitive process.
Editor’s note: Soccerwire.com will provide live, onsite coverage of Jefferson Cup 2013. Our content can be found here.