Thousands of people will flock to Dayton over the Memorial Day weekend for the 27th annual adidas Warrior Soccer Classic.
The tournament, which features 524 youth soccer teams and expects to bring nearly 25,000 people to the area, begins at 8 a.m. today and runs through Monday afternoon.
It is expected to bring in an estimated $8 million to the local economy over the course of the weekend, according to the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Jacquelyn Powell.
“They have a great reputation for running a first-class event and a tournament that people want to come back to year after year,” Powell said. “They attract a lot of college coaches that are scouting, so that, obviously, makes this a wonderful event that folks want to attend, that teams want to play in.”
Carol Maas, the president of the Warrior Soccer Club and the co-director of the Warrior Soccer Classic, said games will be held at same locations the tournament has used for the last couple years — the Warrior Soccer Complex and Thomas Cloud Park in Huber Heights, Hobson Freedom Park in Beavercreek Twp., Old River Sports Complex in Oakwood and Vandalia Fields.
With so many players and so many different age groups, with players ranging from 8-year-olds to adults, making sure a tournament this large runs smoothly can be difficult, but Maas said the event staff and the others involved in setting up the tournament make it an enjoyable time for everyone.
“We just want people to come here and have a good time and forget about their problems for a weekend,” Maas said. “The city really allows us to do that. The different sites are so helpful to us setting us up because it’s such a massive undertaking. When that happens, the goodwill just spills over into the people who are coming, and I can’t tell you how really great the people of so many counties involved in this and certainly the city of Dayton deserves a big hand for all it’s done for us over the years.”
The teams will be split into 55 divisions with each team getting three matches in the preliminary round that will last until the early afternoon on Sunday. The semifinals and finals will start around 2 p.m. on Sunday and the finals are set for Monday afternoon.