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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to welcome more than 15,000 to top regional soccer tournament June 27-July 2

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

4,500 players will take to the pitch at Kingston Campus

KINGSTON, R.I. – June 25, 2013 -- The soccer fields at the University of Rhode Island will be teeming with 4,500 young players from June 27 through July 2 as the University welcomes the United States Youth Soccer Region I Championships to its Kingston Campus.

The regional tournament, which draws players from 15 Northeast states, is part of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series. The tournament will return to URI in 2014. The event was previously held in Rhode Island in 2000 and 2004.

Read more about the positive economic impact of youth soccer events at URI.

In addition, officials are anticipating upwards of 11,000 spectators to visit Kingston.

The program will begin with opening ceremonies Thursday, June 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. at Meade Stadium. The soccer action begins Friday, June 28 at 8 a.m. and continues through Tuesday, July 2 with the crowning of champions in each age group for boys and girls. All events are free and open to the public. For additional tournament information and schedules, go to http://region1.com/clubsite/?p=5533.

“On behalf of all URI students, faculty, and staff, we welcome the players and families to our community,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “We are pleased to host such a prestigious tournament and extend our best wishes to all for an exciting and competitive event.”

Dooley said he hopes visitors enjoy being in the Ocean State and find it to be a warm and friendly place.

“There is much to see and do in Rhode Island, so I encourage you to find time to experience some of our many treasures. While you are on the Kingston campus, I invite you to join one of our weekday walking tours led by our student tour guides to give you a firsthand view of our beautiful campus.”

For more information on these tours, visit: http://www.uri.edu/admission/visiting.html.

“This tournament is one of the largest in the country and the numbers only tell part of the story,” said John Gibbons, executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission.
In addition to the great action, local businesses will also be scoring big. The event will generate an anticipated 25,000 hotel room nights over two years and use rooms throughout Rhode Island and into parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Such large hotel business required collaboration with the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Eastern Regional Tourism District of Connecticut, and many others.

“Our local hotel partners have really stepped up to the plate, so to speak, to help secure this business,” said Gibbons. “I cannot thank them and our partners at URI enough.”
Bob Palmeiro, Region I director for Rhode Island Youth Soccer, said excitement is peaking as the prestigious event approaches.

“We are prepared to host the top event in the region,” Palmeiro said. “We have used the URI fields for our Olympic Development Program for years and they are always in great shape. From the players’ perspective, this is the tournament they want to compete in each year. Teams that win qualify to compete for national titles in their age groups in Kansas City in July. We encourage anyone who enjoys soccer to join us at URI to see the best youth soccer in the country.”

Joe Pittle, manager of conferences and special programs at URI also offered a warm Rhody welcome to the visitors.

" Administrators and staff from Recreational Services, Athletics, Dining, Residential Life and Facilities Services have all logged many hours to make sure our fields and facilities are in top condition for the players, coaches, referees, tournament officials and families. We at URI are proud to host such a great event and we extend an invitation to all Rhode Islanders to come enjoy the best youth soccer in the region at their flagship university."