A major soccer tournament started today in Fayetteville, giving the city an economic boost.
About 160 teams from across the state will compete in the weekend event. And area businesses will do some scoring of their own.
Soccer players and their parents gathered Friday at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel off Interstate 95 to register for the state tournament. Over the next few days, they'll be spending lots of money in the Fayetteville area -- an estimated $1.4 million.
"We're told there should be 8,000 people coming to Fayetteville who would not otherwise be in Fayetteville over the weekend," said tournament organizer Mike Larson.
Among those visitors is a team from Charlotte, escorted by Denise Garbacz. "We have 17 rooms booked at the hampton inn, so we have parents and children who will be eating three meals a day," Garbacz said. "So we should probably spend a $1,000, $1,500 over the weekend for our team."
And that's music to the ears of Doug Traub of the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau.
"With this tournament in town, and with the last weekend of the Dogwood Festival and Sunday on the Square, we're filled to the brink," Traub said. "Every hotel in town should be sold out."
The soccer matches will be played across the city, with a new complex as the center of attention. It features eight fields, near Methodist College.
The Fayetteville Soccer Association built the $1.5 million complex, mostly through donations. It opened in February.
"Glad to see they built that soccer complex? Yeah, most definitely," said Wendy Wagner of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. "We're very happy, and we hope they'll be coming back, quite a bit."
The Fayetteville Soccer association hopes this complex will be the site of several major tournaments, as well as some summer camps each year. As the goals add up here, so will the dollars spent in the local economy.
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