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During the first two weekends in March more than 300 youth soccer teams and 20,000 players, family members and fans from all over the nation compete in the Red Diamond Classic
It’s been an annual Birmingham tradition for 19 years.
During the first two weekends in March, local residents begin to notice carloads of enthusiastic families wearing soccer team uniforms, shin guards and gear spilling out into parking lots and entering our local restaurants, grocery stores and hotels.
It’s the official kickoff of Spring soccer in the South, and it all starts here in Birmingham, Alabama with the nationally recognized Red Diamond Classic.
According to a recent public announcement, the Red Diamond Classic youth soccer tournament will pass a significant milestone in 2017. Since its inception in 1998, the tournament will top this year, a collective economic impact of $100 million for the Birmingham region.
This year, the Red Diamond Classic will draw 300 top-level teams from states all across the country. These elite boys and girls soccer players will bring an estimated 20,000 friends, family and fans with them to stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, shop and see Birmingham’s great attractions while bringing a projected $7.5 million in economic benefits, according to recent local convention and visitors bureau estimates.
“The Red Diamond Classic has a great economic impact for our region,” says David Galbaugh, Director of Sports for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.
One of the first big Spring competitive youth soccer tournaments in the South, the Red Diamond Classic has become a destination tournament for the top club teams in the region and country.
“The Red Diamond Classic brings rising, young soccer stars into Alabama to play at a highly competitive level,” says Bill Bowron, Chairman, President and CEO of Red Diamond. “This is the kind of active, healthy lifestyle that Red Diamond encourages, and it provides us the opportunity to extend some Southern hospitality. For some people, this might be their first visit to the Birmingham area. The tournament is an excellent way to showcase our hometown.”
The Classic, which is organized by Birmingham United Soccer Association, draws select players ages 9 to 15. The boys’ tournament is March 4 and 5, and the girls will compete March 11 and 12.
Admission is free throughout the tournament. To see the full tournament schedule and the list of participating teams, please visit www.birminghamunited.com.