Labor Day travel is predicted to hit a five-year high this weekend. For youth soccer enthusiasts the destination is Dayton.
The Mead CUSA Cup soccer tournament — featuring 508 teams from 11 states and Canada — hosts its 34th event Saturday through Monday at fields in Beavercreek, Centerville and West Carrollton. Considered the largest youth tournament (boys and girls from 8-14 years old) generates about $9 million for the area economy.
“I think it’s great from multiple angles,” said tournament director Dan Monahan. “As a Montgomery County resident I think it’s great we have a product and a service that will attract teams from so far to give us an economic boost. Being able to have such a large tournament and minimize the number of teams we have to turn away is certainly a great thing. We really focus our tournament on not just the games, but the whole experience from checking in to the hotels to our trophies to make the whole experience great.”
Monahan said about 45 teams were turned away this year. Expansion has often been discussed. The teams wanting to play are available but additional fields, referees, hotels and volunteers are not.
“Those are what I call the quadruple constraint,” said Monahan, noting there are 462 volunteers for this year’s tournament. “You have to solve all four of those problems if you want to continue to expand.”
Among the teams in this year’s tournament are 16 state champions, 24 state runners-up and 25 state semifinalists. It’s not just the competition that brings teams back. The hospitality is also a main drawing point, starting with the popular registration party to the coveted — and very large — championship trophies.
Also this year the Mead CUSA Cup partners with T.J.’s Place of Hope in Centerville, a place of support for troubled teens. Part of the registration fee is being donated to T.J.’s Place and the Mead Cup logo incorporated T.J.’s Place logo as well.
“We started looking around about who are we as an organization,” Monahan said. “Not only are we just soccer, we’re youth in general. We want to create a great experience for youth.”
Mead CUSA Cup
What: Youth soccer tournament for ages 8-14
When: Saturday through Monday
Where: Ankeney Soccer Complex in Beavercreek, Oak Grove Park in Centerville, West Carrollton Soccer Complex