Video: Columbus Hosts Big Soccer Tournament

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Folks in the Golden Triangle may notice a little more traffic this weekend. And a lot more families. But while it may be a temporary headache for locals, it’s sure to be another shot in the arm for local businesses.

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The Friendly City is preparing for the Presidents Cup Soccer Tournament.

In just a few days, Highway 45 in Columbus may get a little crowded. And the year-old downtown park and soccer complex will be full. It’s the first major sports event for the complex…so big that games also are being played at Joe Cook Magnet School and Columbus High.

 

 

“It’s a huge event. It is the largest soccer tournament in the state,” said Greg Lewis/CLRA Director of Programs.

Teams of kids from ages 9 through 18 will be playing. And Columbus, New Hope, Caledonia and West Lowndes all have graduations Saturday.

 

 

Getting the fields across three locations ready for the state’s second highest level of soccer competition has taken months of planning. The last-minute rush is this week.

 

“We are taking a lot of time preparing fields, ordering equipment, getting volunteers. It’s just putting things back together again. And we are hoping that the city will actually receive a big economic impact. And that’s what we are looking at,” said Lewis.

With so much going on, hotel rooms are at a premium. Organizers have pushed spill over fans and families to surrounding towns.

 

“We are sold out with Friday and Saturday night and it actually starts picking up on Wednesday evening. So it’s good for us during the week as well,” said Kim Klafter/GM-Ramada Inn.

“There are 120 teams coming, and you can basically take an average of the youth, 10 and 12s. There are basically 12 to a team and you can have as many as 22 on those other teams. So it’s big,” said Kim Klafter/GM-Ramada Inn.

If one does the math, it’s about 15 hundred players. Throw in a couple of parents and relatives and you are easily talking about 5 thousand people in town just for the tournament alone. That’s a lot of extra mouths to feed and shoppers to serve.

 

 

And that doesn’t even include all those families in town for high school graduations. City leaders tell us they have set up everything from extra police patrols to shuttles to help answer questions and make sure guests have a nice stay in the Friendly City.

 

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