U.S. National Soccer Team to Play in Lakewood Ranch, FL This Weekend

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The U.S. National Soccer U17 boys team will play the Clearwater Chargers in an exhibition game this Saturday at a new sports complex in Lakewood Ranch, FL.

These are the best young soccer players in America

The Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, FL will be buzzing with activity this weekend as athletes playing soccer, rugby, Frisbee and football take to the fields.

The U.S. National U17 boys soccer team will play two exhibition games against the Clearwater Chargers on Sept. 17. “These are the best young soccer players in America,” said Tim Mulqueen, Lakewood Ranch’s director of sports. “It will be a great sight for the entire community to come out and see soccer players who will most likely be playing for Major League Soccer one day.”
There are about 40 players on the U.S. National team, from all over the country. They will split up to play two games—one at 10 a.m. on Saturday against the Clearwater Chargers U16 team and one at noon on Saturday against the Chargers U18 team. These games are free and open to the public.

Three other sports will take place simultaneously this weekend. A rugby 10’s tournament will start on Saturday and continue on Sunday. This world cup rugby event, hosted by the Sarasota Saracens rugby team, will bring in 20-30 elite rugby teams from around the state to compete and will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.

The Ultimate Frisbee world championships will also take place Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the YMCA football league will be playing regular league games all weekend as well. “That is the great thing about having 22 full-sized fields,” said Mulqueen. “When we are not hosting a major tournament, we can host several smaller events all at the same time.”    
The last major event at the campus was the Labor Day soccer tournament, which brought in approximately 19,000 amateur athletes and fans, generating more than $8 million in economic impact to the region.

Starting this Friday, light poles will begin to go up on eight fields at the sports campus, extending future play into the nighttime hours. The investment will be approximately $1.1 million. “The lights make us very unique in that we are the ONLY local facility that is privately owned that has playing fields with lights,” Mulqueen said. “We can now be host to at least nine national events – events that will be massive in terms of economic impact and exposure to the area that we could not have secured without lights.”

The Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch is a multi-purpose facility that is home to 22 full-sized, mixed-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and other amateur sports, and features Celebration grass and underground irrigation. The complex is used for amateur and professional top-flight and world-class sporting tournaments, events, camps and clinics and is located in Lakewood Ranch – the 8,500-acre, award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. http://www.lakewoodranch.com

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Candice McElyea
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