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Soccer on the rise in West Virginia

More than 5,000 people who adore the sport of soccer are visiting West Virginia this weekend. (WCHS/WVAH)

More than 5,000 people who adore the sport of soccer are visiting West Virginia this weekend. The US Youth Soccer Eastern President Cup regional games are being held in Barboursville.

The sport is on the rise nationally and with the FIFA World Cup currently taking place, many people are buzzing with excitement. The sport is growing across the nation and in West Virginia.

"There are more teams popping up, younger team's, more skilled teams because everyone is trying to play soccer," 14-year old West Virginia soccer player Liam Depp said.

Depp said he is excited to see the sport he loves growing. He and his teammates said this week has been an exciting time with the news of the FIFA World Cup coming to North America in 2026 and the Eastern Presidents Cup regional tournament being held in the state.

Clarksburg soccer player Jaden Smith has also noticed more teams in the state.

"There have been a lot more teams popping up like other schools around us are getting teams and we are getting to compete against them, which is more competition. It's newer people that we haven't played against so it's not like the same team over and over again," Smith said.

West Virginia Soccer Association President, Len Rogers said the sport is growing.

"We're about 16,000 (players) and we are not growing at leaps and bounds at this moment be we have grown every year, we've increased our numbers," Rogers said.

Rogers said having players from nine different states come to the area is very beneficial.

"Events like this just put us on the map for other states to recognize that we are a valuable state to have," Rogers said.

Rogers said having this regional tournament is a good way to get a taste of the sport and learn if it’s a fit for your family.

The three-day tournament is also estimated to bring $8 million dollars for the local economy. Rogers said players and their families are staying in hotels from Ashland all the was east of Charleston.

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