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It's soccer, soccer, and more soccer at Fort Niagara

Wed, Jun 7th 2017 07:00 am
The Niagara Pioneer Dragons take on the Niagara Pioneer All-Stars in tournament action last year. (Photo by Kevin and Dawn Cobello, K&D Action Photo and Aerial Imaging)
The Niagara Pioneer Dragons take on the Niagara Pioneer All-Stars in tournament action last year. (Photo by Kevin and Dawn Cobello, K&D Action Photo and Aerial Imaging)
International youth soccer tourney returns next weekend
By Isabella Casilio
Ready to catch some exciting youth soccer?
This weekend, the Niagara Pioneer Soccer League will hold its annual Niagara Pioneer Soccer League International Tournament. Now in its 33rd year, the tournament will offer soccer, soccer and more soccer July 8 and 9 on the fields at Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown.
This is Niagara County's largest and longest-running annual youth sporting event, which has continued to grow and improve. For 2017, this tournament is hosting 156 teams with more than 2,850 athletes. Age groups range from U9 to U19, with both boys and girls participating.
The tournament will see 250 games played on the 20 fields at the park. It is estimated the tournament will attract more than 10,000 people over two days of competition. The tournament brings local teams from Niagara Pioneer, along with others from Lockport, Wilson, Grand Island, Tonawanda, Kenmore, Buffalo, Hamburg and North Tonawanda. It draws a diverse field of clubs not only from Western New York, but also well beyond its boundaries into Canada, Pennsylvania, Eastern New York, Ohio, Maryland and Michigan.
"Seeing the park filled to capacity on Saturday afternoon is quite the sight to see," said Niagara Pioneer Soccer Tournament Director Chris Woods.
On top of the soccer tournament, there are also plenty of picnic groves and recreational areas in the park, including spaces to pitch a tent, plan a picnic, play ladder-ball and bocce, and enjoy the company of the teams.
There will be food service provided by The Silo Restaurant in Lewiston, should visitors desire breakfast, a burger, chicken sandwich, or a simple snack.
This unique soccer event combines local tourism, youth athletics and American history.
Niagara River Region tourism officials said the amount of hotel bookings the tournament requires provides the local area a boost in economic growth.
The tournament serves as the Niagara Pioneer Soccer League's major fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support its house and travel leagues, which serve about 800 young athletes in the area. The Niagara Pioneer Soccer League is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster the development of youth soccer in the Niagara Region of Western New York.
This tournament is sponsored by R.E. Krug Corp. Tournament associate sponsors include The Rainforest Café, Sheraton Hotel, ApartmentsNiagara.com, Niagara University, TAM Ceramics, H.W Bryk & Sons, A-1 LandCare Inc., GHD, Northern Customs Services, KeyBank, the Town of Porter, Lewiston Family Dental, Managed Care Network Inc. and Modern Corporation.
Team registration has closed. For more information, including participating teams and the complete tournament schedule, visit www.niagarapioneer.demosphere.com/tournament.

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