By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, OK -- One of the country's biggest youth soccer tournaments started Friday morning in Broken Arrow. The Broken Arrow Soccer Club is hosting the President's Cup Tournament.
There are 120 teams playing from 11 states. That's a lot of people when you count the players, the coaches, the parents and spectators, enough to need 1800 hotel rooms this weekend.
The first of 400 games started early Friday at Indian Springs, where the top soccer teams from 11 southeastern states will play.
Stephanie Boatright and her family drove in from Columbia, South Carolina, and this is their vacation.
"We came in on Tuesday night about 9:30 and we'll be leaving Sunday and heading to Branson before we go back home," she said.
In addition to deciding which 10 teams will go on to the national tournament, the President's Cup is a big boost for Broken Arrow.
"This tournament is the biggest tournament the state will host this year," said Steve Mosinski, Broken Arrow Soccer Club.
Mosinski says between five and six thousand people come and go for each match.
"We are really trying to let everybody know across the U.S. that Oklahoma knows soccer and Oklahoma is really good at soccer," he said.
While many teams traveled far, no one traveled further than Shenandoah Soccer from Miami, Florida.
"They've never done a trip like this before. We were going to come by bus, but the ride was 23 hours long." said Facundo Parad.
The team of has been playing together five years, but this is the first time they've played out-of-state. Many of the parents are regulars on team road trips.
"And we passed cars from Georgia and Tennessee on our way here," Stephanie said. "It's a really big deal."
And they're used to both the fun and expense of youth soccer on this level.
"I'm sure we'll be flat broke by the time we leave Sunday," Stephanie said.
The teams will play through Sunday, and the 10 teams who win their age brackets will advance to nationals. The Broken Arrow Soccer Club, the host, is hoping maybe to one day host that tournament.