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Park City Extreme Soccer tournament is underway and raising money for soccer scholarships

The Park City Extreme Soccer tournament kicked off Thursday and will run through Saturday.
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The Park City Extreme Soccer tournament kicked off Thursday and will run through Saturday.

The Park City Extreme Soccer Cup is underway and it’s one of the largest sanctioned U.S youth soccer tournaments for boys and girls under the age of 19 in Utah.

The tournament officially kicked off Thursday morning at 8, although some games were held Wednesday afternoon to accommodate the schedule for the 431 teams. The tournament will continue Friday with the final games and awards being held on Saturday.

According to the Executive Director of Park City Extreme Soccer Shelley Gillwald, games will be played on 38 fields at 15 different venues – 14 of them in Summit County. The numbers she says are down from prior years for a couple of reasons.

"A combination of the construction in the[Park City] school district but also changing the relationship with [Wasatch County], Gillwald said. “We've played about a quarter of the tournament in Wasatch County in the past and we just have one field in Heber this year. We're not using Heber fields like we have.”

The tournament is popular she says, not only because it’s well-run, but because it’s in Park City with some of the best fields in the state. About a fifth of the teams in the tournament she says are out of region, meaning that they will need lodging to participate, but many more teams she says choose to stay and enjoy Park City.

“It's a staycation for a lot of the teams from the valley,” Gillwald said. “I think our surveys say approximately 50% of the people stay at least one night in Park City. So, it's more than just going to a soccer tournament on a big complex with 30 fields down in West Valley. They come up and they make an event of it. It's a combination of the soccer, the quality of play is quite high, because it's in demand. So good quality play, good fields. And I will tell you, we've been at this for 19 years. So, we have it pretty dialed in. And so, it's a good experience for the folks that come.”

Prior year surveys she says conducted with the Park City Chamber Bureau show that the tournament contributes upwards of $2.8 million of indirect spending to the area.

The tournament is a fundraiser for the club, raising about $100,000 through registration fees to support local children with scholarships and uniforms.

“Already this year, we've got over 90 Kids and we've got about $100,000 awarded with program fees, and uniforms. So, this is really essential to us being able to support the kids in the community that needed those need based scholarships.”

With so many kids in town for the tournament, drivers are asked to slow down and watch for pedestrians, especially in those areas where the soccer fields are being used. You can find the tournament schedule in the web version of this report.