By Paul Huggins
Three state soccer tournaments will return to Decatur for three more years, the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced.
In addition, the Tennessee State Soccer Association will bring the Olympic Development Program here in January.
The Alabama Youth Soccer Association will bring its Division I State Cup preliminaries for Under 13-14 teams, Division II State Cup for Under 11-13 teams and the Division I Final Four here through 2013.
The Division I and II preliminaries will be May 6-8, 2011, and the Division I Final Four will be May 13-15. All tournaments will be at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex.
“The 2010 tournaments produced an economic impact of over $436,000,” said Tami Reist, visitors bureau president. “The tournaments brought athletes and their families where they used hotels, gas stations and restaurants over the course of two weekends.”
Bureau records show the three tourneys filled 731 rooms nights last year and 350 room nights in 2009.
The Division I tournament is a top-level qualifying event with winners advancing to regional tournaments with an invitation to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship on the line. The Division II tournament decides the state champions to represent Alabama in the United States Youth Soccer Association Region III President’s Cup, which will occur in Decatur in June.
Decatur has hosted Alabama’s Olympic Development Program previously, but this is the first year Jack Allen drew ODP players and coaches from Tennessee. The event typically attracts about 300 players, and it will occur Jan. 22-23.
The elite program identifies the best players in the state and offers technical and tactical training from nationally licensed coaches and college coaches
Last year and in 2009, Alabama’s ODP filled 65 room nights.