2019 soccer tournament expected to bring $20M to Baton Rouge economy

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge may be a football city, but soccer will be the game to watch in the summer of 2019.

Visit Baton Rouge announced on Wednesday that the Regional Youth Soccer Championships will be held in the Capitol City next year.

BR has hosted the event before in 2010 and 2014.

SLIDESHOW of 2014 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships

Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo says the event is a great way to introduce young boys and girls to the city.

"You're gonna have so many of these young kids in town experiencing Baton Rouge," Arrigo said. "Maybe one of them might decide to go to Southern University, or LSU."

Representatives with the Baton Rouge Soccer Club were in attendance as well. They expect between six and eight teams to compete in next year's championships.

"For us, we spell football f-u-t-b-o-l," the club's executive director, Louis Smothermon, said. "So while this may not be a football state, we hope that it's a soccer football state as soon as it can be."

The majority of the games will be played at the Burbank Soccer Complex.

Teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee will be attending.

Visit Baton Rouge expects over 220 teams, 4,000 players, and 12,000 people to come to city.

They also expect to see a big economic impact for local hotels and restaurants. The tournament is expected to bring $20 million to the local economy, according to officials with Visit Baton Rouge.

The competition will last for about a week.

The winner moves onto the National Championships.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.