KINGSTON, R.I. – July 9, 2010 – As soccer’s grandest event wraps up in South Africa on Sunday, about 2,200 youth soccer players from all over the region will seek glory at their own levels during the 19th Annual Seaside Classic, Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11.
Run by the South County Youth Soccer Club, the Seaside Classic is annually one of the largest in New England. Twelve fields at the main venue on the turf fields north of the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center and five more at URI’s Peckham Farm will be alive with soccer action from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
About 150 teams from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont will participate.
At the main venue, The Seaside Classic will feature its own smaller version of the FIFA World Cup’s Soccer City.
“In our gigantic main venue tent, we will have 14 large-screen, high-definition television sets so players and their families can watch the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. while they wait for their matches to begin,” said Steve Washburn, volunteer director of the tourney, which will attract about 12,000 people to the area. “This place is going to be rocking. We have invited about 1,000 girls from the Olympic Development Program who are training at URI, to watch the games with us.”
Washburn said other features make this year’s tournament special.
“We’ll have a rock climbing wall, a soccer volleyball arena and an internet café where families can keep track of their teams’ status at the Seaside. Even grandma and grandpa in Florida can also check on their grandchildren’s progress during the tournament, as results will be posted online.”
The tournament website is http://www.seasideclassic.com/.
Washburn said the Seaside might be one of the greenest tournaments in the country.
“Our players will be playing on organic turf fields, and we will have 150 recycling containers placed throughout the sites,” he said. “Last year, we cut our volume of trash by 50 percent because of our recycling efforts.
“We also eliminated our 28-page tabloid that listed all the teams and schedules,” Washburn said. “Now we have all of that information at our website, and those who want to print their team’s schedule, only have to print out a page.”
Also, since all of the games are played at one venue, car trips are cut down because families don’t have to travel across town to other venues as they do at other tournaments.
“We say this will be your best soccer experience of the year,” said Washburn.
Andrew Gagnon, director of volunteers for the South County Youth Soccer Club and the Seaside Classic, said the 400 volunteers are the backbone of the tournament and the main reason for its success. Like Gagnon, who is a URI graduate, many volunteers have ties to the University, either as faculty and staff, alumni or students.
In an effort to attract the best referees, the club has hired nine referee assessors, who will evaluate referee performances and be able to step in if there are problems in any particular game. There will also be field marshals at each of the fields.