Regional soccer tournament boosts Boise-area economy

BOISE -- A regional soccer tournament has brought thousands of people to the Treasure Valley this week.

Leaders at the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau say those visitors will spend millions of dollars during six days of soccer matches.

"It's almost $8 million economic impact," said Terry Kopp, director of sales.

Kopp estimates more than 4,500 kids ages 11 through 18 are taking part in the U.S. Youth Soccer 2015 Far West Regional Championships at Simplot Sports Complex.

Add in their parents, coaches, referees and other support staff, and she says more than 11,000 people have gathered in the Boise area.

The tournament started on Monday and wraps up Sunday.

"We have great weather, we have great accessibility, and those fields are amazing," she said.

Tournament Director Tom Mendoth told us this is the fourth time the event has been held in Boise.

"Everything is centrally located, it's laid out beautifully," he said of the Simplot Sports Complex.

It's a big reason the tournament is back in the City of Trees.

Mendoth says 248 teams from more than a dozen states are represented. The biggest challenge is finding hotels and lodging for all the visitors.

"We pretty much push the envelope in Boise. We're pretty much taking up every room there is in town," he said.

Coach Neil Armour and his group of under-14 players from Orange County, California, are staying at a hotel in Meridian for the week.

"We eat lunch and eat dinner every single day and night since we've been here. We've been here since Saturday. We got here late Saturday night," he said.

That business will continue as long as the West Coast F.C. team keeps winning. They've come out on top in both matches they've played so far.

"You know, all the teams are traveling in from all over the country, all over the western United States for these events, so it's got to be amazing for a city like Boise," added Armour.

Convention & Visitors Bureau leaders say that's true.

"On their down time they're looking for things to do. There are people who want to run the foothills trails. There are people who want to float the Boise River. There are people who will be out and about in all the restaurants," said Kopp.

All that activity pumps money into the local economy.

Kopp told us this tournament is a big get for a city like Boise and tourism officials are already looking ahead to next year.

Idaho was also chosen to host the 2016 Far West Regional Championships.

"So we're a city that wants this business and we're a city that welcomes them when they come," said Kopp.

Another concern for tournament organizers this year: triple-digit temperatures.

Mendoth told us he's been monitoring the weather and plans to implement mandatory water breaks during games starting on Wednesday.

After a rest day Thursday, matches will pick up again Friday through Sunday.

Winners of the championship games on Sunday morning will move on to nationals in Oklahoma.


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