LETHBRIDGE: A last-minute cancellation means Lethbridge will host a national soccer championship come October and city council is pitching in funding to help. Calgary, the original host city, passed up its chance to organize the Under 16 National Soccer Championship because of facility issues, giving stand-in Lethbridge just 12 weeks to pull it off.
"Most organizations get about two years to host one of these events," says Barry Morrison, the head coach of the Lethbridge Soccer Association. "So it's really compressed things and made it quite an adventure."
On Tuesday, Lethbridge city council granted $30,000 to help host the event. About $17,000 is "in-kind," for facilities, transportation, signage and staff. The event is expected to draw about 600 participants and 600 spectators, and generate about $1.4 million for the community.
"I think it's important to have events of this size. It gets your name out there across the country," says Morrison. "Teams will be coming back from Lethbridge hopefully with positive things to say, because they'll have seen what we can offer here in southern Alberta." The event will run from October 5 to 10 at the University Community Stadium fields and the Lethbridge Sports Park.