Barboursville all about the Open Cup
BARBOURSVILLE -- This weekend, 115 travel, recreational and all-star soccer teams from across the Mountain State will descend on Barboursville for the West Virginia Soccer Association Open Cup.
Games will start on the 16 fields at the Barboursville Soccer Complex at 8 a.m., and won't stop until after 7 p.m. that day.
The round robin tournament works in different skill levels, age groups and genders, and wraps up on Sunday with semi-finals and finals competitions.
The highest age group is under-19, and the lowest under-10.
All will be competing in the organized chaos that is the tournament, with a guarantee of playing at least three games.
"I don't know if I can give you hours that it takes to get ready for this," said Len Rogers of Barboursville, president of the WVSA. "It's six, seven days getting everything ready, and I'm talking 12-, 16-hour days."
All of that prep work is conducted by volunteers, who will also be keeping things organized when the tournament actually kicks off.
"It's fun, that's the way it's supposed to be," Rogers said. "It's huge for some kids to get into a tournament just to get that tournament atmosphere. You see travel clubs, all-star teams that come out of some of the clubs in the state, and recreational teams. Some teams we have just because they want to enter.
"You get some competition, but at a level where most teams should feel comfortable within their group."
The tournament is also a boon for the region, with so many players, coaches, parents and families coming to the greater Huntington area for two days.
"I think it's very important in terms of the revenue it brings to this area," Rogers said. "You're talking about revenue from hotels and restaurants, and hopefully we can continue to bring this one to Barboursville. These teams get to see Barboursville and it really shows off this region of the state.
"It'll be full and there will be a lot of excitement."
Soccer is growing fast in West Virginia, though the Mountain State is still a smaller market for the sport.
"We have about 15,000, 16,000 kids registered," Rogers said. "You go up and play in Massachusetts and they've got maybe 150,000 kids signed up to play.
"We're smaller, but it is growing and I think we're holding our own. The issues the bigger organizations have to deal with we've already dealt with. When you're bigger you've just got more bosses and more people to make happy, so it's not such a bad thing being a smaller state."
Barboursville is hosting a similar tournament in November, and is one of the regional sites for the nationwide club soccer tournaments, which brings in teams from all across the eastern United States to West Virginia.