Two major youth soccer tournaments have been awarded to the Shawnee Sports Complex and the Barboursville Soccer Complex, the Kanawha County Commission announced Monday.
The 2022 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships and Eastern Presidents Cup will take place in Kanawha and Cabell counties. The Presidents Cup is scheduled for June 17-21, 2022, and the Eastern Regional set for June 24-30, 2022. Shawnee and Barboursville also co-hosted both tournaments in 2019.
Shawnee and Barboursville are already confirmed to co-host the 2021 US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Presidents Cup, which takes place June 19-23.
Kanawha Commissioner Ben Salango said in a conference call Monday morning that the tournaments represent a feeling of hope. Some of the first events that fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 were sports tournaments at Shawnee, along with a string of cancellations throughout the spring and summer.
“COVID-19 has brought extreme hardships for everyone in our communities, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Salango said in a news release. “This announcement is one of many things we now can look forward to in the coming years.”
If there is one economic engine that is “recession proof,” it would be youth travel sports, Salango said. The money flowing into communities in Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell counties because of these tournaments will be significant, he said. If these events prove to be successful for the national organizations each year, the organizations will keep returning to West Virginia, he added.
“These tournaments alone will have an estimated economic impact of $28 million. That is in addition to the $8 million economic impact we are expecting from the 2021 Presidents Cup,” Salango said.
“We, along with [West Virginia] Soccer Association, have worked so well with US Youth Soccer, and this shows the confidence they have in us to continue to host these major events,” he continued. “I want to sincerely thank US Youth Soccer for selecting us yet again to host these events.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., praised the commission and Salango in the news release for their efforts to bring both tournaments to the Mountain State.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for Kanawha County and all of West Virginia … I look forward to seeing the thousands of young athletes visit our state next year and will continue to work with Kanawha County Commission to ensure they receive the support needed to make both tournaments successful,” Manchin said.
The US Youth Soccer East Region includes teams from Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to the release.