March 21, 2006

Media Contacts:
Todd Roby, US Youth Soccer, 1-800-4SOCCER or 214-868-9959
Kathy Robinson, NCYSA, 336-856-7529
Charlie Slagle, CASL, 919-796-8985
David Lee, Wilson Parks & Recreation, 252-399-2262
Scott Dupree, Greater Raleigh CVB, 919-645-2657 or 919-414-4022

2008 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships Awarded to Raleigh and Wilson

Raleigh, N.C. (March 21, 2006) – For the first time ever, the 2008 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships will be hosted by two communities when Raleigh and Wilson team for the 2008 event from June 19-25.

The tournament will attract 184 Boys and Girls teams (ages 14-19) from 11 states throughout the US Youth Soccer Region III/South (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas). According to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB), it will generate approximately 20,000 total hotel room nights and an economic impact of $4.2 million and ranks as one of the largest sporting events ever booked in the region.

The tournament will be played on 10 fields at the WRAL Soccer Center in Raleigh and on 6 fields at the new J. Burt Gillette Athletic Complex in Wilson. Although the 184 teams will stay in the Raleigh area throughout the event, Wilson will also reap the economic benefits of 9,500 visitors during the soccer championship.

The North Carolina Youth Soccer Association (NCYSA), a proud member of US Youth Soccer, is serving as the official host in partnership with the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) and Wilson Youth Soccer Association (WYSA). CASL is supported by the Greater Raleigh CVB, which coordinated the local bid effort, and WYSA is supported by the City of Wilson.

According to Bob Singer, President of NCYSA, "We are excited that the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships will once again be played in North Carolina with Greensboro last hosting in 2003. Our Regional championships are part of the most successful program for the highest level of youth soccer play in the United States. NCYSA and our club co-hosts, the Capital Area Soccer League and the Wilson Youth Soccer Association, are committed to this major event, to the children and young adults we serve, and to the development of soccer in our State."

The US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships, which will feature the top teams in Under-14 through Under-19 age groups, is made up of US Youth Soccer State Cup champions and select runners-up from US Youth Soccer Region III, including host North Carolina Youth Soccer Association. Regional winners of the Under-14 through Under-19 brackets earn a berth to the 2008 US Youth Soccer National Championships. Following individual State Cup tournaments, the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships are the second stage of the country's premier national youth soccer tournament – The US Youth Soccer National Championships.

"CASL is excited to bring this great event to North Carolina," said Charlie Slagle, CEO of CASL. "The North Carolina qualifiers have traveled or will travel to the western part of the region from 2004-2007 since the event was hosted by Greensboro in 2003. It will be great to have the championships in the eastern part of the region.

"The 2008 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the WRAL Soccer Center which CASL has allocated resources to refurbish the facility for this event. Those resources will be used to upgrade the field surfaces, limit the amount of use on the soccer center and upgrade the physical structure of the park. Wilson's Gillette facility is a great new soccer facility and by June 2008, the fine young athletes of the Southern Region will have two great locations on which to compete to advance to become one of the final four teams in the US Youth Soccer National Championships."

"Wilson is thrilled to co-host this event with Raleigh," said David Lee, City of Wilson Parks and Recreation Director "Our new soccer complex was built with tournaments like the 2008 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships in mind. We will gladly showcase our community and complex to families throughout the Southeast. We look forward to 2008 and will do everything we can to make it an enjoyable experience."

Said Scott Dupree, GRCVB Director of Sports Marketing, "The 2008 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships promises to be a landmark event on the area sports calendar. In terms of size and scope and prestige, this event is difficult to beat. This is a great example of a true partnership at work. It took four organizations, including two host cities, to make this event a reality for Raleigh and Wilson. The leadership and vision at North Carolina YSA, Capital Area Soccer League and the City of Wilson was absolutely tremendous."

Recent and future host cities include Little Rock, Ark. (2002); Greensboro (2003); Austin, Texas (2004); Frisco, Texas (2005); Little Rock, Ark. (2006); Oklahoma City, Okla. (2007).

About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer - The Game for ALL Kids!® is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3.2 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member state associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit .