Wilmington, NC: Travel industry partners in New Hanover County will welcome athletes and their families next weekend, May 20-21, when two sports events return to Wilmington and Carolina Beach. The 29th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic and the 2023 Beach Wrestling National Championships will be held in Wilmington and Carolina Beach.  

The Seaside Soccer Classic, a youth soccer tournament sanctioned by the N.C. Youth Soccer Association, will take place at several fields in New Hanover County including: Veterans Park, Eaton Fields/Ogden Park, Hoggard High School and Castle Hayne Park (Northern Regional Park at Castle Hayne). Hosted by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC, this year’s tournament is anticipated to host more than 250 teams, with more than 4,000 players attending, roughly 250 coaches and more than 100 referees, as well as family members who will accompany the players, which will nearly double the number of visitors for the weekend event.  

Executive Director of the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Soccer, Carson Porter states “We are excited to be back to pre-COVID participation numbers this year. We have 250+ teams coming to the Seaside Classic and are looking forward to another great soccer weekend of soccer. The Seaside Classic often serves as an end of season tournament for our participants and families that allows them to celebrate their season while also visiting and spending time in our great city and at our beautiful beaches. This year’s tournament is unique as our new $18M City of Wilmington nCino Sports Park is under construction. We will be spread across 5 complexes throughout the county. It is exciting to look ahead to the 2024 Seaside Classic which we hope will be one of the first events at our nCino Sports Park.”   

The goal of the event is to provide players, from ages 9 to 19 years old, a competitive end-of-season tournament in a beautiful and fun destination. During the two-day tournament, the 4000 participants and their families will stay at a variety of lodging properties and will shop and dine at local businesses. Details for the 2023 Seaside Soccer Classic can be found online or by contacting Carson Porter at carson@wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com

Hosted by USA Wrestling, the 2023 Beach Wrestling National Championships will take place near the Boardwalk on the strand of Carolina Beach, providing a fun, safe and exciting opportunity for both competitors and spectators. USA Wrestling understands the importance of developing all styles of wrestling and is committed to the development and success of beach wrestling. Events will begin with the Ultimate X International Duals at the Lazy Pirate on Friday night, prior to the day of competition. This event will feature a head-to-head matchup of athletes from Barbados and Jamaica taking on an all-star team from the United States. In addition to attracting walk-up crowds, sand wrestling tournaments offer participants, families, and spectators the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of sun, sand and fun.  

USA Wrestling is also excited to welcome their longtime partner, the United States Marine Corps as a title sponsor for the event. This is the first stop on the USA Beach Wrestling Tour of America. The Tour features stops from coast to coast as competitors vie for points at each event and top honors of Tour Champion at the end of the season. There is added emphasis on this year's event as qualification for the World Beach Championships is on the line for 3 divisions. The U17, U20, and Senior men's and women's categories will be looking to earn qualification in this year's championships slated for Constanta, Romania Sept. 7-10. 

"Beach wrestling is the fastest growing style of international wrestling, and we are proud to call Carolina Beach the home of our US National Championships," states Event Director, Ed Duncan. “Much of the growth of the style has happened because of the great event put on in Carolina Beach each year, and we look forward to this year's event being the best ever!" 

This year’s Beach Wrestling National Championships will include approximately 300 participants. Wrestlers will compete in age divisions that include 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, Junior, Senior and Masters for both men and women. More details can be found online or by emailing Ed Duncan at edduncan160@gmail.com

“We are always excited to welcome sports events and tournaments back to Wilmington and our island beaches. Hosting youth tournaments provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the destination to families who are traveling from strong visitor feeder markets,” said Kim Hufham, president/CEO of Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We hope the athletes and their families enjoy their visit and return for future tournaments and family vacations.” 

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau, markets and develops the county and its communities’ leisure and group travel experiences for economic growth and quality of place.  


Note to Media: To arrange interviews and photo ops for the 2023 Beach Wrestling National Championships, please contact Ed Duncan directly at (424) 262-8729 or teamncwrestling@gmail.com. 

 To arrange interviews and photo ops for the 2023 Seaside Soccer Classic, please contact Carson Porter directly at (910) 392-0306 or carson@wilmingtonhammerheadsyouth.com. 

Hannah Almeter
Communications/PR Specialist
Wilmington CVB
910-341-4030 x126