The Premier Sports Campus (PSC) in Lakewood Ranch will host its annual Labor Day weekend tournament from Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, and it’s slated to be one of the biggest of the year. Soccer players, parents and spectators from all over the state of Florida, and as far away as Georgia, will converge at the PSC for the Chargers Soccer Club’s 2014 Labor Day Showcase.
“Over 250 teams and 6,000 visitors are expected to attend the long-weekend soccer event,” said Brian Shriver, Labor Day Showcase Tournament director. “We have more teams registered as of today compared to last year at the same time.”
Several competing teams are from Sarasota and Manatee counties, with about 90 percent coming from outside the area. The age groups represented will be U11 through U18 for both boys and girls. This event is free and open to the public; parking is also free. Games are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to approximately 7 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.
Teams registered will provide a welcome boost to the local area’s tourism industry and wide exposure for both the Lakewood Ranch community and the 140-acre PSC and its 22 pristine soccer fields. Because of the size of the facility, families with multiple siblings playing in the tournament will have the opportunity to attend all the games without having to worry about driving from one location to the next.
Based on local visitor spending estimates, organizers expect the tournament, running from Saturday through Monday, to pump millions of dollars into the local economy. Since the showcase’s start in 2011, the event has effected more than $23 million in regional impacts.
Tournament organizers said event attendees will book about 3,500 rooms throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties. The Labor Day Showcase has seen tremendous growth in the last few years with many teams attending the tournament and competing at various levels of play.
“This is big,” said Antonio Saviano, director of sports for the PSC. “This kind of exposure for our area and our community is invaluable. It’s a great way to showcase Lakewood Ranch and, of course, give our local businesses a great boost during a typically slow time of the season.”
The regional economic impact of the tournament benefits hotels, retailers, restaurants, and other entertainment venues, but also gives attendees a window on the lifestyle the Ranch has to offer.
“For many families this isn’t just a chance to compete in one of the biggest youth soccer tournaments around our area,” Saviano said, “but a chance to take a vacation. And their family fun proves to be a benefit to the entire community.”
Team check-in will be held on Lakewood Ranch Main Street on Friday, Aug. 29.
The Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch is a multi-purpose facility that is home to 22 full-sized, mixed-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and other amateur sports, and features Celebration grass and underground irrigation. The complex is used for amateur and professional top-flight and world-class sporting tournaments, events, camps and clinics and is located in Lakewood Ranch – the 17,500-acre, award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. www.lakewoodranch.com.