Wilmington, N.C.: On May 21-22, travel industry partners in Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina BeachKure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach will welcome the 23rd Annual Seaside Soccer Classic, a youth soccer championship sanctioned by the N. C. Youth Soccer Association. 

Hosted by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC, the Seaside Soccer Classic provides a fun, safe, and competitive opportunity for teams of all levels. The tournament is open to all Club teams that regularly participate in challenge and classic league play. According to Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC Tournament Director Dani Pittman, this year’s tournament will host 297 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. Each team consists of an average of 14 players. All but 37 local teams will travel from out of town. Each of the 4,200 players is expected to be accompanied by three or four family members. Additionally, 275 coaches and 160 referees are expected to accompany the teams. 

During the two-day tournament, the majority of the participants and their families will stay at a variety of hotels and shop, dine and play in local establishments. The Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Staff encourages all teams and their families to attend the Wilmington Hammerheads Professional game on Saturday, May 21st at Legion Stadium. The game kicks off at 7pm as the Hammerheads hope to secure a win against rival Charleston Battery. For discounted tickets (prior to game day), contact Courtney McKeon at courtney.mckeon@wilmingtonhammerheads.com.

“Based on participant numbers provided by event organizers, the 23rd Annual Seaside Soccer Classic will generate approximately $1.67 million in direct visitor spending in New Hanover County,” states Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. “Using a conservative 2.5 multiplier, the total economic impact of this tournament will be approximately $4.19 million.”

Sponsors include Jeff Gordon Chevrolet, Wilmington KOA, and Crown Hotel and Travel Management. This year’s Seaside Soccer Classic will take place at several soccer fields in New Hanover County, including: Cape Fear Regional Soccer Park, Hugh MacRae Athletic Park, Veterans Park/Ashley High School, Murray Middle School, Eaton Fields/Ogden Park, Hoggard/Roland Grise fields and Castle Hayne Park.

“The staff of the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC is looking forward to hosting another great tournament,” states Dani Pittman. “The 23rd Annual Seaside Soccer Classic could not be possible without the support of New Hanover County Parks and Rec and the City of Wilmington, and the use of their facilities. We would also like to thank the hotels in our area of accommodating the parents and players who continue to come back each year, thanks to our beautiful area!”

“Hosting a regional youth soccer championship such as this provides Wilmington and our island beaches with a great opportunity to showcase the destination to families who are traveling from our top feeder markets,” said Hufham. “We hope the players and their families enjoy their visit and return for future tournaments and vacations.”

For details the 2016 Seaside Soccer Classic, call 910-392-0306, email tournaments@wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com or visit www.wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com. To download a free Official Visitors Guide to Wilmington NC’s historic river district and the beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com.

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.