Soccer players, fans flocking to St. George for weekend tourney

File photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Sizzling shots on goals, sprawling saves and deft dribbling will be on display as more than 100 youth soccer teams from throughout the Mountain West head to warmer climes for the 14th edition of the Dixie Invitational this Friday and Saturday.

The massive tournament attracts teams from Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and all throughout Utah, with players ranging in age from 6 to 19. The soccer squads compete across 13 fields in Washington County. Funds from the tournament help support the Southern Utah Soccer Association’s recreation league for youth ages 4 to 11.

File photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“The Dixie Invitational is part of southern Utah’s holiday tradition,” said tournament director Kariann Atkin. “The Dixie Invitational and Southern Utah Soccer Association brought Northern Utah and the surrounding states to southern Utah for soccer before any other local tournament or organization knew about our area. We were on the ground floor of the soccer wave taking over the state and the nation.”

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 visitors are expected to converge on the St. George area for the holiday weekend, putting a charge into the local economy. The Dixie Invitational is projected to generate an economic impact of $4 million.

“At a time when many of the folks along the Rocky Mountain Range are beginning to feel the effects of Old Man Winter, St. George’s mild temperatures in the late fall make it an ideal spot for a big event like the Dixie Invitational,” said Kevin Lewis, director of the St. George Area Sports Commission. “What’s great about this event is it gives folks from colder regions a taste of our beautiful area, and many times they choose to return with their families on vacation.”

“This event is unique within the state of Utah because Southern Utah is the only place where soccer can be played during this time of year,” Atkin added. “We offer premium fields and facilities for use during a time when all other facilities are unable to run due to weather conditions.”

For a complete tournament schedule and information on venues, visit www.southernutahsoccer.com/dixie-invitational.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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