20th annual Seaside Classic Soccer tourney to bring about 2,200 players to URI

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Event to have special FIFA Women’s World Cup atmosphere

KINGSTON, R.I. – June 30, 2011 – As the FIFA Women’s World Cup enters the knockout round in Germany, about 2,200 youth soccer players from the Northeast and Canada will seek their own triumphs at the 20th annual Seaside Classic Soccer Tournament Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10.

Run by the South County Youth Soccer Club, the Seaside Classic is annually one of the largest soccer tournaments in New England. As in the past, the main venue is the organically-grown turf fields north of the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center.

About 160 teams from New England, New York, New Jersey and Canada will participate. Games run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The players and their families, referees and others working the event will have a robust impact on Rhode Island’s economy. For example, there are 1,700 rooms booked at area hotels with an average projected spending of $45 per guest per day, bringing well over $900,000 in revenues going to local businesses, according to the tournament committee.

When restaurants, beaches and attractions and stores are added to the hotel revenues, the economic impact of the tournament revenues over the last 20 years is in the multi-millions, tournament organizers said.

Similar to last year when the tourney was held during the FIFA Men’s World Cup, the Seaside will feature its own smaller version of Soccer City with a main tent where knockout round games in the Women’s World Cup will be shown live on large-screen television sets.

Always known for its premier-level competition, the 20th anniversary edition of the Seaside Classic will offer a new 6-v-6 format this year that will focus on player development and fun.

The traditional part of the event will remain unchanged, with the 11 on 11 format featuring highly competitive games.

As always, we look forward to intense action in our competitive format, but we also extend a warm welcome to teams from Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut that have never played in the Seaside Classic,” said Steve Washburn, Seaside Classic co-coordinator and URI graduate.

The 6 on 6 format will offer a special opportunity for Under 9 through Under 12 teams to play in small-sided games in the festival format. Teams will be matched according to experience and ability for three games each.

“This fast-paced turnaround focuses players in the moment, maximizing coaching impact and player development,” Washburn said. “But kids won’t really notice that; they’ll be too busy having fun. These games will have no offside, substitutions on the fly, and there will be no playoffs.

“Our dedicated team of 400 volunteers is working hard to provide teams with their best tournament experience of the year,” Washburn added.

As always, the competitive format will offer four 11 on 11 games. All competitive games are scheduled with three referees.

“We draw excellent officials from all over the region,” said URI graduate Murray Gates, the other tourney co-coordinator. “Every year our tournament hosts a national level training seminar for participating referees, and we will again have several assessors and supervisors on site to provide support to our fantastic officiating crews.”

Washburn added that more than 40 college coaches came to watch the Seaside’s showcase divisions last year, and more are expected this year.

“We have professional scouts from Europe as well for this 20th anniversary edition,” Washburn said.

“We also want to thank all the previous players, coaches, spectators and countless volunteers over the past 20 year for their support of the Seaside Classic,” Gates said. “Without them, none of this would have been possible.

For even more information on the tourney you’ll ever play in or watch, go to http://www.seasideclassic.com.