National youth soccer tourney bringing fun and millions to Overland Park

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The Overland Park Soccer Complex is welcoming 88 teams from all over the nation this week for the U.S. Youth Soccer national tournament.

Beginning Tuesday, the qualifying teams will play matches to advance to the final title games on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28.

The National League consists of teams, Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls, who qualified for league play through their respective US Youth Soccer Regional League.

On Monday, a luncheon kicked-off the busy week of soccer. Mia Hamm was there and young soccer players were thrilled to see a person they have long admired for her accomplishments in the world of professional soccer.

"It's very exciting for everyone. The whole environment, the luncheon yesterday got us so pumped," said Annie Monihan, who comes to Kansas from New Jersey.

"It's so exciting, after all that she's done, her accomplishments. She's just a legend," she said of Mia.

Likewise, Mia said she was exited to meet the kids.

mia"I'm excited to get in there, whether it's signing autographs or answering questions or just sharing some personal experiences about playing in big tournaments," Hamm said on Monday.

The tournament is expected to bring in $4 million dollars to the Overland Park area, with 8,000 hotel rooms reserved.

To prepare for the thousands of visitors, the Overland Park Soccer Complex touched up some of the lines on the field and made sure the complex was in mint condition.

"When we get this many games, we have more than 2,000 games on the fields every year, so we put a lot of traffic on there. We wanted everything to look as best as it could," said Mike Laplante who manages the complex.

"We're one of the few complexes around the country that has this many fields, this many synthetic fields so we can play in any weather condition and in order to accommodate 88 teams, it takes a lot of work," he said.

Overland Park was also host to the National Championship Series in 2010, but in 2013, there are 28 additional teams to host.

The soccer complex is located at 135th and Switzer. Admission is free. Click here for the schedule of events.



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