NCFC Hosts the Triangle’s Soccer Showdown

Jordan Meadows, Staff Writer

On Sunday, the North Carolina Football Club (NCFC) Youth hosted a day of competitive soccer games between the Triangle’s young athletes aged 3 to 19. Traffic poured into the WRAL Soccer Park on Perry Creek Road in what the league deemed a “normal soccer weekend.”

NCFC Youth, formerly known as the Capital Area Soccer League, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1974, this non-profit organization has been a cornerstone of youth soccer in the greater Triangle area, nurturing talent, and fostering camaraderie.

“NCFC Youth’s tournaments not only provide a great soccer tournament experience for players but also support the local economy,” Chief Marketing and Development Officer Katherine Eberhardt said. “We host approximately 10 soccer events and then host venue for other events, including regional lacrosse events, ultimate frisbee, etc. -- all which generate economic impact”

NCFC Youth operates a multitude of supplementary initiatives, including summer camps, outreach programs, and sporting tournaments. The crown jewel in NCFC Youth’s tournament lineup is the NCFC Youth Showcase Series, a four-week extravaganza held in November and December. This marquee event is estimated to inject over $28 million in direct visitor spending annually into the local economy, underscoring the organization’s significance beyond the realm of sports.

The organization provides accessible soccer programs for over 16,000 players, supported by nearly 2,000 coaches, across various levels of competition. From introductory recreational leagues to elite competitive platforms, the organization caters to diverse skill sets and aspirations, ensuring every child has the opportunity to participate. Recently, they had a night recognizing more than 60 graduating seniors committed to playing soccer in college next year; some even have aspirations to play at the professional level.

The league is composed of 10-12 week main seasons in both the Fall and Spring traditional seasons. Some of the programs they offer are more year-round and extend into 9-10-month commitments. The main WRAL Soccer Park facility is used every night for practices and weekends for games and tournaments; when it’s not being used for soccer, they work with other groups to be a host venue for sporting events.

Official sponsors include notable and familiar enterprises such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, WakeMed Health and Hospitals, and visitRaleigh. The club is also sponsored by the Carolina Hurricanes and Crown Trophy of Raleigh.

The park is named in honor of WRAL, the company and group that played a pivotal role in its development and financing in the 1980s. As NCFC Youth celebrates its ongoing season, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to nurturing the next generation of soccer stars and community leaders. 

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