Local businesses getting boost from soccer tournament

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An athletic competition is drawing thousands of young athletes from 13 states to West Virginia.

Young soccer players take a break between games in the 2019 U.S. Soccer Eastern Presidents Cup by playing video games at the Quicksilver Arcade Bar in Huntington.

The 2019 U.S. Soccer Eastern Presidents Cup kicked off Friday at fields at Shawnee Park in Dunbar and Barboursville Park.

This is the first of four regional youth soccer tournaments in West Virginia over the next couple summers.

The economic impact of these soccer tournaments is estimated to be $56 million.

Hotels and restaurants between Charleston and Huntington have been seeing a boost thanks to the tournament.

"It's really fun just being with everybody after the games, staying in the same hotel and just having fun," soccer player Tomas Edmeades from Arlington, Virginia said.

One of the beneficiaries is the new addition to Pullman Square in downtown Huntington, the Quicksilver Arcade Bar, where young athletes can rest their bodies while continuing to display their competitive spirit, playing free arcade games created long before they were born.

"All the kids can come in and wind down from their soccer games," Quicksilver bartender Mason Haug said. "The parents can come in and sit at the bar and play some games as well."

The area has hosted several big youth soccer tournaments in recent years. Community leaders say it's a big win to keep these events coming back.

Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango says the fields at Shawnee Park are paying dividends.

"You know people are wanting to come here," Salango said. "They love the facility and they love the turf, and we're winning some pretty significant tournaments. It's great for the area. It's great for the kids."

This tournament runs through Tuesday.

Barboursville Park and Shawnee Park will be hosting another big soccer tournament, the U.S. Youth Soccer Eastern Regional Championships, starting June 28.