The Edmond Sun

June 17, 2013

Traffic shouldn’t be an issue with upcoming national soccer tournament

Opening ceremonies take place Thursday at Wantland Stadium

Scott Wanish
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — About 15,000 people are expected at the U.S. Youth Soccer Southern Regional at the Edmond Soccer Complex on Danforth Road near Kelly Avenue June 21-27.

The number of out-of-state guests should not be a problem according to Assistant City Manager Steve Commons. The tournament will attract more than 200 boys and girls teams, ages Under-13 through Under-19, from the 12 state associations that make up U.S. Youth Soccer Region III (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, north Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, south Texas and Tennessee).

As a matter of fact, Commons feels very upbeat about the prospect of Edmond hosting the national tournament.

“Ka-ching!,” was actually his initial response as the local economic impact is estimated at nearly $8 million on the area.

“If you think about it, we host big soccer tournaments all the time,” Commons said. “What is going to be different is that this will last a lot longer. The tournament won’t just be over the weekend, which we’re excited about.”

In addition to parking at the soccer fields, Edmond North High School’s campus will be available for parking as well as some local businesses.

“If you have a choice to go through that area, you may want to take alternate routes,” Commons suggested. “But, there can only be so many people at the soccer fields at one time and each team only plays one game a day.

“We’ll have extra traffic officers at times, but as of now we’re going with existing traffic control. It will probably be like any morning or evening times.”

Also, the City Link bus goes down Danforth now and will take people and drop them off at the soccer complex.

Local restaurants, hotels, retail stores and others will benefit from the more than 3,600 players, coaches, teams and tournament officials, along with an estimated 12,000 spectators attending the seven-day tournament. Visitors to the Edmond area will book an estimated 10,000 room nights at area hotels.

On Thursday at 5 p.m., the opening ceremonies kick off at Wantland Stadium on the campus the of the University of Central Oklahoma. A moment of silence is planned at the opening ceremony in honor of the May tornado victims.

“We hope this tournament promotes some secondary activity and that our visitors enjoy their stay here in the community,” Commons said.

“This is one of many exciting things coming to Edmond. The PGA for Seniors championship is coming next year to Oak Tree National and we’ve added a 16th field in the last year just to accomodate this tournament.”