OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park scored big last year, hosting the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship, which brought more than 2,600 people to the area and an estimated $7 million to the local economy.
After another tournament was canceled this summer, Overland Park hopes to rebound in 2021, if the COVID-19 pandemic cooperates, and begin to recoup a summer of lost revenues with another massive youth soccer tourney next summer.
The Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex has been selected to host more than 200 youth soccer teams in July 2021 for the first-ever Elite One Cup National Championship.
Visit Overland Park President and CEO Dana Markel led the effort in its winning bid, which beat out more than 30 other facilities nationwide.
"The beauty of planning this event is that it's in 2021, so we were able to look past all this craziness that’s happening now and our plans, of course, are to be open for business and welcome thousands of visitors here next year," Markel told 41 Action News on Thursday.
Most competitions at the soccer complex take place over one weekend, but Elite One Cup National Championship will be a longer event with Division I playing on July 13-18, 2021, and Division II taking the field July 21-26, 2021.
"It gives the players the opportunity to only play one game a day, but then they get to go out and experience what Overland Park and the Kansas City metro has to offer," Mike Laplante, manager of operations at the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex, said.
Some of the players will stay at the Marriott Kansas City Overland Park off Interstate 435 at Metcalf Avenue, which has set aside 150 rooms for the tournament next summer.
"Especially now during COVID, hotels have taken such a huge hit," Lori Haskell, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, said. "With different things going on, everybody's canceling, so to have something like this happen, it's like a light at the end of the tunnel."
If everything goes as planned, the tournaments will generate an estimated $8 million dollars in revenue for the Kansas City economy.
"Kansas City appreciates good soccer and this would be an opportunity for them to see that," Laplante said.
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