TAMPA, Fla. - United Soccer Leagues announced today the 2008 USL SoccerFest will be held November 20-25 in Tampa, the home of the organization’s headquarters, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. The USL SoccerFest, launched in the fall of 2005, is comprised of the USL Annual General Meeting and the Super Y-League’s 10th Anniversary North American Finals.
The USL SoccerFest is an annual event in Tampa with a multi-year partnership between USL and the TBSC that makes Tampa the home of the USL SoccerFest through 2008.
“The 2007 USL SoccerFest was extremely successful on a number of different fronts,” said USL Senior Director of Commercial Development James Ward. “In 2008 we are looking at ways to bring the event to an entirely new level by creating additional elements that will integrate local organizations and businesses throughout the community. Our goal is to make this soccer celebration an event in which the entire area can become involved.”
The USL Annual General Meeting will be held at the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Tampa. The USL AGM will draw hundreds of key figures from USL’s First and Second Division tiers of professional soccer, the Premier Development League, W-League, Super-20 League and Super Y-League. The event will be held Thursday, November 20 through Sunday, November 23.
The Super Y-League North American Finals runs parallel to the AGM. The event begins Thursday, November 20 and concludes Tuesday, November 25. The SYL finals are considered one of the top youth soccer events in North America.
“We are extremely pleased to be the host hotel for the 2008 USL SoccerFest,” said Hyatt Regency Tampa General Manager Derrick Morrow. “We know it will be another very successful event for USL, and wish them the very best in the years to come.”
“SoccerFest 2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Super Y-League,” said USL President and Founder Francisco Marcos, who served as director of public relations and vice president of soccer operations for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League for eight years in the 70’s. “We have come a long way from just a handful of teams (16) that launched this pioneering league in 1999 to nearly 600 today.”
“We could not be more excited to continue this dynamic partnership with United Soccer Leagues,” said TBSC Executive Director Rob Higgins. “Last year’s event had a tremendous economic and social impact on our incredible soccer community.”
The 2007 USL SoccerFest was a tremendous success. The SYL North American Finals featured an interactive Players’ Village that was home to a fully functional Sprinturf field, which was one of the main fields for the newly-launched local Five-A-Side Frenzy tournament. A FIFA 2008 video game tournament and UMBRO Soccer Shop rounded out the exciting events housed in the Players’ Village.
2008 USL AGM
The Annual General Meeting, USL’s annual gathering of team executives and soccer dignitaries for operations and strategic planning meetings returned to Tampa in 2005 for the first time since 1997. The event was held in Clearwater the past seven years.
Every year, over 300 team owners, executives and other important figures in the soccer community meet at the USL AGM to discuss important soccer issues. This three-day conference will feature representatives from each of USL’s senior teams ranging from Vancouver to Puerto Rico. The USL AGM also features the annual team and executive awards presentations and the USL Hall of Fame dinner. Last year, former players Giovanni Savarese and Rob Ukrop were honored along with long-time Charlotte Eagles head coach Mark Steffens during the ceremony as the seventh induction class for the USL Hall of Fame.
2008 Super Y-League North American
USL’s biggest competitive event, the Super Y-League North American Finals returns to Tampa for the fourth year November 21-25. Founded in 1999, the league’s championship events have been successfully celebrated in Raleigh, NC, Rockford, IL, Orlando, FL, Philadelphia, PA, Cleveland, OH, and Atlanta, GA.
The Super Y-League North American Finals is a five-day assembly of the best 140 youth soccer clubs in North America. Boys and girls soccer clubs, ages 13 through 17, compete throughout the year in the U.S. and Canada for the right to compete in this event. Teams qualify from their respective regions (New England, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Northwest, Northern California and Southern California). Regional representatives face the best from around North America in a quest to become league champions.
The 2007 Finals brought together clubs who would otherwise never compete. Far off places such as Vancouver, Canada competed against clubs from Miami, Florida. Clubs from Los Angeles faced the best New Hampshire had to offer. Teams also represent the youth academies of some of the top professional clubs in North America. The Super Y-League includes youth teams organized by Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, DC United, Los Angeles Galaxy, Red Bull New York, Real Salt Lake (Florida) as well as youth sides of future Women’s Professional Soccer team Washington Freedom and WPS affiliated teams FC Indiana, Chicago Gaels and MPS Boston Renegades.
The Super Y-League is foremost, a professionalized system serving as the first step for developing youth soccer players in North America. Affiliated with U.S. Soccer, the league is designed for talented youth players destined for professional or international careers. Through Olympic Development Program status events such as the SYL ODP Camps, the nation’s top players are also selected for National Team programs.
Held as part of the USL SoccerFest, the Five-A-Side Frenzy is a small-sided tournament that embraces many of the components of futsal, FIFA’s official small-sided game. Great soccer stars such as Pele and Ronaldo grew up playing the game and credit futsal with developing their skills. There are a few differences between futsal and soccer, but the main thing is that futsal uses a smaller ball that emphasizes touch over power. The inaugural edition last year attracted teams from as far as Ecuador – that team, La Gambeta, claimed the Adult men’s division.
Hyatt Regency Tampa
Hyatt Regency Tampa is located in the heart of the financial and arts districts. The Tampa Convention Center, Port of Tampa, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and the Museum of Fine Arts are only a few blocks from the hotel. The Hyatt Regency is also minutes away from Tampa’s best shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Hyde Park Shopping Village is only a ’trolley-ride away’ and when evening falls the same trolley will take you either to Channelside or Ybor City for a colorful night among the wide array of clubs and restaurants. For more about the Hyatt Regency Tampa, visit hyattregencytampa.com
Ed Radice Soccer Complex & Land O’Lakes
The majority of the 2008 SYL North American Finals, including all championship matches will be played at the Ed Radice Soccer Complex. The sprawling facilities serve as home the W-League’s Tampa Bay Hellenic and to Hillsborough County United – the 2006 U17 boys Super Y-League Champion. Fields at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Center will host preliminary and semifinal action.
Tampa Bay Sports Commission
The Tampa Bay Sports Commission is a private, non-profit, 501c3, charitable corporation that serves the entire Tampa Bay area as the lead organization for bidding on and hosting major amateur sporting events. Their mission is to attract, promote and/or organize major amateur sporting events, and grassroots youth sports programs, that foster the ongoing development and quality of life for the entire Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Sports Commission works to unite all interests in the Bay Area under one full-service approach that provides leadership and guidance for the benefit of all parties involved with amateur and youth sports. The Sports Commission works with the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau to provide a wealth of services to potential events and their governing bodies. For more information about the TBSC, visit www.tampabaysports.org
United Soccer Leagues
As United Soccer Leagues starts its third decade of operation, soccer at all levels continues to grow in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean. The largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America, United Soccer Leagues is dedicated to growing the sport at the grassroots level in every community. The USL First Division and Second Division (North American men’s professional soccer), the USL Premier Development League (U23 North American men’s pro/am), the USL W-League (North American women’s pro/am), the USL Super-20 League (U20 North American men’s and women’s amateur) and the USL Super Y-League (North American boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur) have provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams since 1986. This vision and commitment to develop a soccer nation by fans, investors, administrators, coaches, and players has created the foundation for the growth of the sport, while presenting affordable, exciting family entertainment in over 100 cities and towns on the continent.