The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 10, 2014

Darrell Moore Classic begins today at YMCA sports complex

By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer

BECKLEY — It’s time to change the signs. For the next 48 hours, Beckley becomes Soccer Town, W.Va.

The 14th annual Little General Stores Darrell Moore Soccer Classic will kick off today at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, bringing more than 50 soccer clubs from Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia to the famed soccer grounds in Beckley.

The round robin and pool competitions will begin at 8 a.m., with the final games of the day starting at 8 p.m.

For the soccer community in southern West Virginia, the Darrell Moore Classic is an opportunity to continue the long-standing growth of the world’s most popular sport in the Mountain State.

“I think it’s important to our area,” YMCA assistant program director Jason Logan said. “Soccer has a long-standing tradition in Beckley. It’s gained in popularity over the last decade, but the YMCA has had soccer for over 30 years. We’ve always had a spring tournament, but I think this is a good thing to showcase this great soccer complex we have. There’s a deep soccer tradition here, so it’s only fitting that we host a tournament like this.”

The event is named after the late Darrell Moore, a longtime soccer supporter and YMCA volunteer who was instrumental in helping to grow the sport in the region.

This year, the competition will feature teams from Under-9 through Under-18, looking to take home a championship.

The Under-18 division, which features the WV Rapids Soccer Club, Black Diamond Soccer Club, Eastern Kentucky Football Club, Club Ohio and Zanesville Ohio Soccer Club, will get the luxury of competing on the two larger fields, Paul Cline Stadium and Carter Family Foundation Stadium, in the nightcap.

“This is an added feature,” Logan said. “We try to schedule the older teams playing at night, so they can play under the lights.”

More than 1,000 soccer players and their families are expected to arrive in Raleigh County this weekend, YMCA sports and recreation director Daniel Vass said. He expects that influx to have an impact on the local economy, similar to the annual Biddy-Buddy Basketball tournament.

“It’s similar excitement,” Vass said. “It’s good for local businesses. Hotels this time of year are hard to find. We have over 1,000 kids coming in to play soccer and spending the weekend here. They’ve got to have something to do when they’re not playing — they can only play two games a day — so they’re going to bring a lot of business to local companies.”

As much of an impact as the event will have on local business, it may pale in comparison to the impact it will have on the future of the game in southern West Virginia. That’s something both Vass and Logan hope to happen.

“The soccer community has been excited with the growth of the event in the last five years,” Logan said. “They’re all excited. It’s going to be a great weekend.”

— E-mail: jrollins@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.