World Cup Village creates Classic scene
Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862
KINGSTON, R.I. – July 13, 2010 – KINGSTON, R.I. – July 9, 2010 – As Andres Iniesta’s shot hit the back of the net to give Spain a 1-0 advantage over the Netherlands halfway around the world, the University of Rhode Island’s version of the FIFA World Cup Soccer City erupted.
Thousands of soccer players, coaches and enthusiasts converged on the campus over the weekend for the 19th annual Seaside Classic. With the World Cup culminating Sunday in South Africa, Seaside Classic officials set up a large tent with 14 large-screen, high-definition televisions so the 2,200 youths attending could witness Iniesta’s historic goal as it happened. Also invited were 1,000 female soccer players participating in the Olympic Development Program being held concurrently at URI.
ABC6 reporter Coleen Harry was on hand
to capture the action with participants.
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 were alive with soccer action from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day over the weekend.
The Classic featured about 150 teams from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. In addition to the soccer action, there also was a rock climbing wall, a soccer volleyball arena and an internet café for family members to track the status of their teams.
Steve Washburn, volunteer director of the Seaside Classic, pointed out that the tournament was among the greenest in the country.
“Our players play on organic turf fields, and we have 150 recycling containers placed throughout the sites,” Washburn 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. 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.
URI graduate Andrew Gagnon serves as director of volunteers for the South County Youth Soccer Club and the Seaside Classic. Gagnon said the 400 volunteers are the backbone of the tournament and the main reason for its success. Like Gagnon, many volunteers have ties to the University, either as faculty and staff, alumni or students.