Wilmington, N.C. - On November 19 and 20, travel industry partners in Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will welcome the 2016 Beach Soccer Classic, a youth soccer championship sanctioned by the N.C. Youth Soccer Association (NCYSA). Hosted by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC, the Beach Soccer Classic is a popular fall tournament open to all U10-U18 Boys and Girls (Boys up to U16) Club teams that participate in USYS Challenge, Classic and Premier league play only.

According to Dani Pittman, Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Tournament Director, this year’s Beach Soccer Classic will host 140 teams from North and South Carolina. Of the teams registered, 115 are from out of town. Each team consists of an average of 14 players.  More than 2,100 players (boys and girls ages 10-18) will be accompanied by three or four family members. Additionally, 120 coaches and 75 referees will accompany the teams. 

During the 2-day tournament, most participants and their families will stay at area hotels and shop, dine and play at New Hanover County businesses. Several lodging facilities in New Hanover County will house the participants.

“Based on conservative participant numbers provided by event organizers, we estimate that the Beach Soccer Classic will generate more than $831,330 in direct visitor spending in New Hanover County. Using a conservative 2.5 multiplier, the total economic impact of this tournament will be approximately $2.08 million,” states Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “It is our hope that the players and their families will enjoy the tournament, as well as our beaches and Riverfest events during their stay.”

“The staff of the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC is thrilled to once again be hosting the 2016 Beach Soccer Classic,” said Dani Pittman, Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Tournament Director. “It allows teams from around North Carolina and South Carolina to experience competitive soccer and enjoy the best of Wilmington during its off season. We’d like to thank New Hanover County Parks and Rec and the City of Wilmington for their continued support and use of their facilities. We would also like to thank the CVB, as well as the hotels in our area, for accommodating the parents and players who continue to come back each year, thanks to our beautiful area and supportive community.”

The 2016 Beach Soccer Classic will take place at multiple soccer fields in New Hanover County, including: Cape Fear Regional Soccer Park, Eaton Fields, Ogden Park, Veteran’s Park fields and Hugh MacRae Athletic Complex. The Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC also organizes the annual Seaside Soccer Classic, a spring tournament that brings approximately 300 teams with more than 4,635 players, coaches and referees to the region in May. Youth sports events, such as the NCYSA-sanctioned soccer tournaments, provide a welcome boost to tourism in New Hanover County.

For tournament details, please call 910-392-0306 or email tournaments@wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com or visit the tournament website: http://soccer.sincsports.com/TTIntro7.aspx?tid=BEACH.

In May 2017, the Wilmington Hammerheads begins a new chapter of the team’s 20+ year history when it will start play as a member of the Premier Development League (PDL), a summer league that accommodates top college-aged talent during the summer months. All business and soccer operations will be run by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Soccer Club [WHYFC] and overseen by the WHYFC Board of Directors. The following link provides more details about the transition: www.wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com/2016/09/30/hammerheads-begin-new-chapter/.

For a free Official Visitors Guide to Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina BeachKure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690, email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com. For seasonal specials and events, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/seasonal-page.

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County that stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism.