By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Hundreds of young soccer players are coming to Mercer County beginning today for the second annual installment of the East River Soccer Classic.
Soccer games will begin at 8 a.m. today at the East River Soccer Complex off John Nash Boulevard in Bluefield. The public is invited and admission is free, said Sharon Boggess, who co-chairs the event with Michelle Dye.
“We will have 25 teams. That is more than last year,” Boggess said. “We’ll have approximately 370 kids here. Coaches are required to come in and register their teams. The Sleep Inn is hosting registration.”
The games will continue today until 5:45 p.m.
“It will be all day long at a variety of times,” Boggess said of the game times. “We encourage the public to come. There’s no charge to come in, and concessions will be available. Brown’s Grill and Grub will be back this year with barbecue ribs and wings. Definitely come hungry.”
Last year, 21 teams competed at the tournament. Four local teams that are part of East River’s travel program are playing this year along with teams that came from as close as Beckley to as far away as Morgantown and beyond.
Having so many visitors this weekend will be an economic boost for the area. The players, their parents, and other people who travel to the tournament require food, lodging and things to do when games are not underway, Boggess said.
“It’s great to see the growth we’ve had in two years,” Boggess said. “Our tournament keeps growing, and that’s our goal.”
The Princeton Rescue Squad will have units at the tournament to handle emergencies. Many local businesses help the event, she said.
“The rescue squad donates its time to be on site. That’s a great benefit for us,” Boggess stated. “We would like to thank Ramey Toyota and Princeton Health Care for being our title sponsors. R. Short Photography will be taking photos, and Restcare will be pressing t-shirts on site.”
Games will begin today at 8 a.m. and the final game will be Sunday at 3 p.m.