AYSO 2014 National Games Are Coming to Riverside!

Includes excerpts from a September 25th Press Enterprise Blog by Gregg Patton:

After a persistent chase that lasted years, Riverside has been named a co-host with Torrance for the AYSO National 2014 Games, a monstrous soccer tournament that is projected to bring 500 youth teams to the week-long event June 29-July 6, 2014.

An official announcement was made at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25th by AYSO 2014 National Games Venue Chair Larry Caplinger. (Watch the video here.)

“We’re going to be invaded,” said Debbi Guthrie of the Riverside Convention and Visitors Bureau (RCVB), meaning that in the best way possible. In a recent press release, AYSO estimated an economic impact of $15 million. Guthrie said that was for the two cities.

“Sometimes you wonder what you’re getting yourself into, but we’re very excited,” said Debra Johnson, commissioner of the Riverside AYSO chapter, Region 47. Johnson said Region 47 has been angling to bring the national tournament — which runs every two years — to Riverside for most of her 18 years with the organization. But it wasn’t until the soccer folks teamed up with local officials that it began to come together. “A big part of (being chosen) is based on city support,” said Johnson.

Shaheen Roostai of the RCVB joined the effort about four years ago and “we had the perfect storm,” said Johnson. Because of the size of the event, AYSO needed two Southland cities to share the teams — boys and girls, ages 9 to 19.

The Ab Brown Soccer Complex in Riverside, which serves as home for Region 47, will be the epicenter, with its 30 fields. Region 47 runs an annual spring tournament, Locomotion, which attracts about 200 teams, mostly from the Southland.

“Our piece of the Games will be comparable (to Locomotion), but the benefit to the city is that we’ll be having people from all over the nation.” said Johnson.

“Since the birth place of AYSO and the National Games is Southern California, it seems only fitting that the Games be held in these locations during the much anticipated celebratory 50th year anniversary,” said AYSO National President Paula Berriz in a Press Release from AYSO. “Approximately a fourth, if not more of all teams that participate in the Games, are derived from teams from Southern California, so there is always a high level of representation from this part of the country.”

Riverside will be a first-time host for the National Games, and was chosen because of the City’s reputation for world-class recreation facilities.

For more information about the 2012 AYSO National Games, click here.

Read the full article from the Press Enterprise, here.