Organizers of a new three-day soccer tournament coming to Genesee County in the fall are hoping it will score big with players and be a shot in the arm for the area’s economy.
The 2012 MSA Fall Classic, organized by Midwest Soccer Academy, presented by Puma and hosted by Tri-County Soccer Club, will descend on Deer Run Soccer Park in Linden from Sept. 14-16. The tournament is open to all boys and girls ages U9-U19, all travel teams, including state associations and U.S. club teams.
“We’re really excited about the Fall Classic. From a player’s perspective, it’s going to be a great event. We have experience running a tournament and have camps locally and around the country. Our goal is to have this event meet or exceed the level of quality that players have come to expect from MSA,” said Tony Shard, president of MSA, which headquarters is in Fenton.
Showing players a good time isn’t the only goal of the Fall Classic, though.
“We wanted to bring in an event that had the potential to positively impact the local economy,” Shard said. “We want to draw not only local players, but teams from around the state and, eventually, the country. Hopefully they’ll stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and visit our stores.”
Shard, a Brit who lives in Grand Blanc, has owned his soccer camps and training company since 2006. Camps may take him and his staff to Walt Disney World and the fields of the Wide World of Sports Complex for the company’s exclusive Disney Soccer Academy, on soccer tours through Europe, to the University of Michigan for a residential training camp or upstate New York for a week-long day camp. At the end of the day, though, Shard said his life is here in Genesee County, with wife Margie and 18-month-old son Keegan.
“This is where I’ve been working to grow our business and give back to the community, so bringing a big soccer tournament to ‘my backyard’ is a treat,” Shard said.
Shard said he’s hopeful the tournament will attract about 80 teams or 1,000 players in its first year. If that happens, it could translate to about 4,000-5,000 people in southern Genesee County that weekend.
Games will be played in various formats based on age. U9 & U10 will play 6 v 6, U11 & U12 will play 8 v 8, and U13 through U19 will play 11 v 11. The U9 & U10, 6 v 6 Division, will have an exhibition format. Players will have a minimum of three games with no play-offs. All players and coaches in this age division will receive participation awards.
All other divisions will work toward a divisional winner. Each team is guaranteed a minimum of three games. Each division champion and runners up will receive team trophies and individual awards for players and coaches.
The cost is $400 for U9 and U10 and $450 for U11 and above. Registration deadline is August 17.
Information provided by Midwest Soccer Academy.