- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Hundreds of teens and their families will come to Lafayette next June for the Region III Presidents Cup, a competitive soccer tournament drawing the best players from 11 Southern states.

Lafayette Youth Soccer Association says next year’s tournament will be held at Moore Park on June 11-14.

Michael Ritch, LYSA executive director, said it’s the first Presidents Cup hosted in Louisiana.

Ritch said 120 teams - boys and girls - from Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma will compete. The winners advance to play for titles in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series.

The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1hJyhzE) Lafayette tourism officials expect up to 7,000 visitors who will provide a $2.5 million economic boost to the city.

Some of them will fly into Lafayette Regional Airport and rent cars, said Ben Berthelot, president and chief executive officer of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission.

“Another huge positive is that the event will be in the summer . which is typically a slower time for travel to our area,” Berthelot said. “Fall and spring are our busiest times.”

Officials worked for months to pull the tournament to Lafayette, and sent a bid to Presidents Cup officials about two months ago, Berthelot said.

To get the event, LYSA and the CVC worked with Lafayette Consolidated Government to upgrade two fields at Moore Park, off University Avenue north of Interstate 10.

Ritch said the teen and adult soccer scene in the Acadiana area is vibrant. Of the thousands who play, a few hundred are good enough to join the Cajun Soccer Club, whose players often compete in regional and national tournaments.

“They compete all year to get to this point,” Ritch said.

In addition, he said 26 men and women in the club signed college scholarships for the 2014-15 school year. And they all competed in this year’s Presidents Cup.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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