Jr. Irish Soccer Tournament assists local businesses

A goal is scored on a free kick during The Memorial Day Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 11:45 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Memorial Day Invitational Soccer Tournament is underway at the Jr. Irish Soccer Fields.

This tournament brings teams from multiple states to South Bend during the holiday weekend.

With the goal of providing a great experience for Soccer teams, Jr. Irish Soccer is also helping local businesses.

“We’ve been able to host teams from all across the country. This year, we’ve been able to have teams from five different states. From Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, so we’ve been lucky to bring some great clubs to the area and help our economy,” said Jr. Irish Soccer Board of Directors member Henry Vu.

Nearly 150 teams, just under half from out of state, are competing this weekend at the tournament.

“Anytime you do these out of state tournaments, it’s super fun, you know, the girls get an opportunity to hang out and be together, and it’s also an opportunity for the parents to join together, and with how the last two years have been, it’s a really good opportunity for all of us to hang out and connect a little bit,” said DCFC ‘08 Team Manager Todd Henderson.

For the players, this is a chance to improve their skills and grow closer with their team.

When asked what they liked best about playing soccer, DCFC ‘08 Youth Soccer Team from Detroit responded, “Just being together, teammates, all of our friends, the chemistry.”

But the assists aren’t only happening on the field, as this tournament boosts the local economy considerably. So, how much does this tournament net for the city?

“Last year, it was estimated that our tournament was able to bring almost $1.4 million to the local economy with people going to hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions in our St. Joe County,” said Henry Vu.

This tournament is also a great chance for local youth officials to earn some summer spending money, as local 7th grader and soccer referee Lucas Carter noted, saying that reffing soccer has made him respect refs more when he plays soccer.

“It’s hard sometimes to keep going with reffing because it gets hard mentally, but if you just stick through it, man, you really get to enjoy it and have fun. Especially with the younger kids, just teaching them about the game, too,” said Local Youth Referee Lucas Carter.

Teams are guaranteed to play three games and will play a fourth if the team makes it to the championship.

The championships will be held Sunday afternoon.

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