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FNC Host 2017 President's Cup May 19 – 21

In less than a week, when the soccer balls finally hit the green fields, FNC Park Director Brad Freeman will finally be able to sit back and relax a little more. Not that Freeman stresses about events after nine years of running some of the state’s top tournaments, but the Mississippi Soccer Association’s President Cup isn’t an ordinary weekend.

It’s been almost two years since the bid to host the Cup was secured, and now the event is right around the corner. It will be held May 19-21 at FNC, and Freeman, and his staff, are going over the final little details to make sure everything is just right.
“This is the state’s largest soccer event and from a MSA standpoint, they don’t just bring this event to anybody. We were definitely honored to get the event. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of preparation that goes into it is just incredible,” said Freeman, who has 117 teams taking part in the weekend. “We’ve been so excited and now we’re getting down into the last week. The easy part is when you roll the ball out there and they start playing. That’s a piece of cake because everything is done. We’re looking forward to it getting started.”
FNC has hosted several different soccer events involving the MSA, which shows that there is a positive trust factor involved to keep getting upper level tournaments. The Northern Regional was played last month, as was the Admiral Cup. None of them compare in stature, or size, to the President’s Cup, which is making its first appearance at FNC. Hotel rooms are all booked up a week after graduation at Ole Miss, which is another important economic impact to the area. Trustmark Bank thought so much of the tournament they joined in to become a sponsor for all the officials who will call the action on the 14 different fields. If one factors in just two parents to travel with the players of each team, there should be over 4,000 extra people in town.
Revenue from tourism has increased dramatically over the past year, and the surplus has in turn made a positive impact for taxpayers. Tournaments like the President’s Cup will add to the push, while tournaments that have already visited have obviously played a part in the robust financial numbers.
“Everybody plays their part for sure,” Freeman said.
Of the 14 fields used in the three-day tournament, five are for U-10 teams, four for U-12 teams and five more for ages 14-16. Three fields at the intramural fields at Ole Miss will also be used. Two of the outfields at the softball quad are also going to be used to make sure teams can play and everything run on time.
“We’re maxed out as far as soccer field teams go,” Freeman said. “The MSA will bring down around 15 folks to help run it and then there will be about 80 to 90 referees. It’s a big event and we’re ready to let them get at it.”

Courtesy of John Davis and the Oxford Park Commission
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