Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 4, 2014

Classic seeks to raise awareness of area

EAST RIVER — Soccer teams from West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee have converged upon the East River Soccer Complex this weekend to take part in the third annual PMCCC East River Soccer Classic.

The Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce (PMCCC) and the East River Soccer Association (ERSA) have teamed up each year to host the tournament.

 The tournament features 15 youth teams across four different age groups. The age groups include U-10, U-11, U-14, and U-18.

“The U-10, U-11, and U-14 are repeat age groups that we have seen compete each year,” said Sharon Boggess, co-chair of the event and representative of the Chamber of Commerce. Those are also the age groups where most of the local teams are represented, added Boggess.

“U-18 is a new age group for us this year. These games are really exciting,” she said. “They play full-field, 40 minute halves, so those games are really competitive and exciting.”

One of the main goals for hosting the tournament for the PMCCC is to raise awareness of what southern West Virginia has to offer.

“As part of the chamber our goal is to raise awareness of where we are,” she said. “With outside teams coming into the community, we want them to be aware of what southern West Virginia has to offer and to introduce them to this beautiful soccer complex.”

The PMCCC hopes that not those visitors to the area this weekend will return at other times of the year as well.

“Often people from outside the area do not know what all we have to offer,” Boggess said. “Exit 9 in Princeton is such as beautiful and growing area and of course Bluefield as well has a lot to offer.”

The PMCCC relies on the assistance of local businesses to help sponsor the event.

 “We have been fortunate, every year we have hosted the tournament we have had Ramey as a title sponsor,” she said. “Princeton Health Care has also been a sponsor we have had each year.”

Numerous other business and service personnel have contributed to make the tournament a success.

“Princeton Rescue Squad has been on-site every year that we have held the tournament,” Boggess said. “They have their ATV and ride around the complex looking for any possible injuries.

“Soccer has quickly become a sport that has become very physical and you never know what can happen so we are very grateful for the Princeton Rescue Squad and their continued support.”

While the PMCCC is grateful for its current sponsors, they are always looking for more with an eye toward the future.

“We are grateful for the sponsors that we do have,” Boggess said, “but we encourage anyone who would like to help sponsor to take part.”

The event will continue today at East River starting at 8 a.m. Admission is free.

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