15,000 Watch Opening Ceremonies in Huntington

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Teams, parents, referees, tournament officials and volunteers gathered at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium this afternoon for opening ceremonies to kickoff the beginning of the 2010 US Youth Soccer Region I (East) Championships. Preliminary games begin tomorrow at 8 a.m. at Barboursville City Park, Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center and Scott Orthopedics Soccer Complex, in Huntington, W.Va.

There are eight teams returning to regional competition as 2009 US Youth Soccer Region I Champions. On the girls’ side, teams include the Under-13 Spirit United Gaels (E-PA), Under-14 PDA Slammers (NJ), Under-15 Scorpions SC (MA), Under-17 Syosset Sting 92 Elite (E-NY), Under-18 PDA Fire (NJ), Under-19 FC Bucks Vipers (E-PA). Boy’s returning regional champions include the Under-17 Hicksville Strikers (E-NY) and Under-18 YMS Xplosion (E-PA).

Already, the Under-18 Girls PDA Fire (NJ) won back-to-back-to-back Region I Championships and are competing for their fourth straight title this week.

The Under-15 Girls Scorpions Elite (MA) punched their ticket to the US Youth Soccer National Championships by way of their success in the US Youth Soccer National League. The Scorpions Elite placed second in league play, earning the right to advance.

Also returning to the regional stage are the Under-19 Boys FC Delco Hammerheads. The Hammerheads won three consecutive Region I Championshisp from 2006 to 2008.
Numerous other players are returning to this week’s tournament in hopes of realizing their goal of advancing to the 2010 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kan., July 20-25, at Overland Park Soccer Complex.

The top 251 boys and girls US Youth Soccer teams from 15 State Associations that make up US Youth Soccer Region I will compete for the regional title. Preliminary games will be held July 2-4 at the Barboursville City Park, Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center and Scott Orthopedics Soccer Complex. Semifinals and finals will be held at the Barboursville City Park on July 5 and 6.

Players enjoyed a cross bar elimination competition, 5v5 mascot game and a tug of war game between mascots and coaches during today’s celebration. The teams paraded through the Joan C. Edwards Stadium and are now preparing for the start of tomorrow’s round robin games.

The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-17 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 60 teams. 2010 marks the 75th anniversary of the Under-19 Boys James P. McGuire Cup, the oldest trophy in youth sports dating back to 1935 with the inaugural youth championships. The Under-19 Girls National Champion will hoist the Ross Stewart Cup on its 30th anniversary.< /div>

Daily reports and complete results from the tournament will be available at http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/regionI/. Keep up to the minute with US Youth Soccer National Championship Series on Twitter.

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