Sports Williamsburg Collaborative Efforts Bring
Jefferson Cup Soccer Expansion to the Historic Triangle --
Virginia Legacy to Co-Host Prominent Tournament Here in
January 25, 2011
Williamsburg, VA -- The Richmond Strikers Jefferson Cup, one of the country's largest and most prominent youth soccer tournaments, is expanding this year to play in the Historic Triangle for the first time through a collaboration of the Virginia Legacy Soccer Club and Sports Williamsburg, a committee of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. Virginia Legacy worked with James City County to enable the tournament to increase participation by an additional 60 teams through the use of Warhill Sport Complex's turf fields and with Sports Williamsburg to obtain grant funding for the event. The expansion of the Jefferson Cup will bring approximately 2,400 players and attendees to Greater Williamsburg for tournament play on the weekends of March 12-13 and 19-20, with a potential $1 million in tournament attendee spending.
The Jefferson Cup has been ranked the country's #1 youth soccer tournament for boys and #4 for girls. Established 30 years ago by the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club, the Jefferson Cup is now Richmond's second largest sporting event, topped only by Richmond's NASCAR races. More than 800 teams will travel from 35 states to participate in the tournament, with 85 percent of participating teams coming from outside Virginia.
Tim Cristian, executive director of Virginia Legacy Soccer and member of Sports Williamsburg, proposed pursuing the Jefferson Cup with the area as an additional venue and applied for a Sports Williamsburg grant, which is funded by the Alliance. "It's been exciting to see so many groups work together to bring this event to Williamsburg. Sports Williamsburg's collaboration was instrumental to attracting this tournament. Virginia Legacy Soccer is especially grateful for the support and efforts of James City County Parks and Recreation in facilitating the use of the Warhill Sports Complex."
The Jefferson Cup will be the first recipient of the Sports Williamsburg grant program, based on the tournament's long record of success and projections of 2011 economic impact for the Historic Triangle. Grant monies will be disbursed following the tournament's completion and submission of documentation of the event's direct impact on area tourism, including registration cards and letters of verification from local accommodations providers.
In addition to partnering with the Richmond Strikers in hosting the expanded Jefferson Cup, Virginia Legacy has been responsible for the organization of a number of youth soccer events in Greater Williamsburg over past years. Its annual Presidents' Day Cup tournament will take place February 19-20, 2011, utilizing fields at the Warhill Sports Complex, James City Recreation Center, Hornsby Middle School/Blayton Elementary School, and the York Country Sports Complex. The club has sent out acceptances to 144 teams this year, making this Presidents' Day tournament the largest soccer event hosted by Legacy in more than four years. Teams will be traveling from nine different states, including Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, as well as Virginia. Virginia Legacy and the Williamsburg Hotel Motel Association estimate the Presidents' Day Cup will generate more than 1200 room nights in the area. Virginia Legacy is also involved in the return of Virginia Friendlies, the Virginia Youth Soccer Association's ODP (Olympic Development Program) invitational, to Greater Williamsburg on February 26-27, 2011.
Sports Williamsburg was organized by the Alliance as a strategic tourism initiative to professionally coordinate further development of the Williamsburg area’s sports economy by attracting, organizing and promoting sporting events. The 31-member committee is made up of representatives from local sports facilities, sports clubs and organizations, area parks and recreation divisions, tourism and hospitality executives experienced in various sports events and group visitation, and members of the business community with sports event experience. In October 2010, the Alliance set up the Sports Marketing Event Grant Program, with funding of $75,000 for 2011. A separate six-member committee, including officials from the area's three economic development authorities, was established to review applications and recommend potential funding for sports organizations applying for grants.