Visiting tournament to continue big impact of West Chester sports facility

Soccer teams from 13 state associations are expected to play in the 2021 US Youth Soccer Midwest Presidents Cup Presented by Chipotle June 17-21, 2021 at Voice of America Athletic Complex in West Chester. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Soccer teams from 13 state associations are expected to play in the 2021 US Youth Soccer Midwest Presidents Cup Presented by Chipotle June 17-21, 2021 at Voice of America Athletic Complex in West Chester. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The return of a high-level youth soccer tournament next year will underline the millions of dollars of economic impact coming from events at West Chester Twp.’s Voice of America Athletic Complex

The 2021 US Youth Soccer Midwest Presidents Cup Presented by Chipotle will take place June 17-21, 2021, and more than 7,000 athletes, coaches and spectators from 160 teams representing 13 state associations are scheduled to play in the five-day tournament.

The influx of visitors will bring an estimated $4.3 million in local economic impact to surrounding communities, according to Tracy Kocher, director of marketing for Butler County Visitors Bureau.

The complex has proven to be a huge economic driver in the region, and with 15 soccer tournaments held this year that attracted 26,500 players and coaches and about 42,500 spectators, said Kelly Barkley, supervisor of Community and Enterprise Initiatives.

Since the facility’s opening in 2014, the total investment for improvements has been $8.57 million, with a total economic benefit from those major tournaments of $64.8 million through 2018, Barkley said.

The complex features 22 natural grass and two lighted multipurpose playing fields, Barkley said. The center nine fields include two lighted synthetic turf fields.

Besides the tournaments, the park is seeing an increase in the number of visitors, Barkley said. She said 1,585 people visited the park daily from October 2018 through September 2019.

Midwest Presidents Cup Chair Jen Fickett said she was excited about the event returning to West Chester after it hosted the tournament in 2018. She said holding the event in the area provides teams with “a quality experience on and off the field.”

Ohio South Executive Director Gordon Henderson said the tournament is “a tremendous opportunity” for Ohio South, the Butler County Visitors Bureau, and the local communities to show “what a wonderful event we can put on.”

Mark Hecquet, president and CEO of the Butler County Visitors Bureau, called the tournament “a prestigious event and reflects on the attractiveness of our area as a premier destination for youth and amateur sporting events.”

When Butler County seeks potential sporting events to host, “part of the package” is the area’s extensive hotels, restaurants, entertainment attractions, nearby medical facilities and easy access off I-75 and I-71, Kocher said. She called the area “very appealing” to tournament directors.