The World Collegiate Soccer Championship (www.wcsc.soccer), an event that matched the best collegiate teams in the United States with the best collegiate teams from abroad for nine straight years, will return to the U.S. soccer calendar in 2018. San Antonio Sports led the successful bid, securing the championship for a five-year term. The championship will feature teams from eight countries as well as provide an estimated annual economic impact of more than $13 million.
Official announcement of the event took place today at a press conference featuring Clayton Perry, city councilman for District 10; Hank Steinbrecher, former secretary general of U.S. Soccer; Bob Azar, founder and current director of the championship; and Russ Bookbinder, president and CEO of San Antonio Sports.
The World Collegiate Soccer Championship will debut in March of 2018 at two San Antonio venues: Comalander Stadium and Heroes Stadium. It will include the World Pre-collegiate Soccer Championship Showcase (youth) tournament that is expected to draw more than 300 teams and the World Collegiate Club Championship Showcase that is expected to attract approximately 40 teams.
Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Japan and Mexico have confirmed their participation. Letters of invitation have also been extended to Canada, the NAIA and NCAA. Other teams that have accepted contingency positions in the tournament are university champions from Brazil, Germany, Republic of Ireland and Russia. A total of eight teams will be selected for the 2018 World Collegiate Soccer Championship.
A study conducted by Steven R. Nivin Economic Research & Consulting has indicated that the event, with maximum youth participation, is projected to generate $13.5 million annually in economic impact for the greater San Antonio area.
“Hosting the World Collegiate Soccer Championships is an exciting opportunity for San Antonio, especially in 2018 when our city will celebrate its Tricentennial and the World Cup will be played,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Our city’s international flavor and affection for soccer make it a good fit. Congratulations to San Antonio Sports for its successful efforts to bring the championships here.”
Russ Bookbinder, president and CEO of San Antonio Sports said: “We look forward to welcoming teams to San Antonio from around the world and around the country. San Antonio is passionate about soccer. As soccer’s popularity in the U.S. continues to grow, with three million youth playing in soccer leagues, San Antonio’s outstanding facilities, culture and wide range of activities for families make it the perfect location to host the World Collegiate Soccer Championship events.”
Hank Steinbrecher, who led soccer’s national governing body for nine years and was a key figure in the staging of both the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women’s World Cup in the USA, is on the leadership team for the revived event.
“With 2018 being a World Cup year and the sporting world focusing on international soccer, it’s particularly appropriate that a world championship event featuring college teams take place,” said Steinbrecher. “It is an event with unlimited potential, and today we’re even more energized by our partnership with San Antonio Sports.”
Robert Azar, the original founder of the event that was held for nine years from 1984-92, is the organizer of the event’s revival in San Antonio.
“The time is right to extend the national collegiate soccer landscape beyond our yearly national championships and give our college players the chance to play against the best collegians from other countries,” said Azar. “We are pleased to bring back an event that simultaneously celebrates the values of higher education and international understanding through the world’s most popular sport. San Antonio is the perfect destination for these events.”
The World Collegiate Soccer Championship grew out of an international soccer tournament staged by Azar as part of the 1983 El Paso-Juarez International Games. Over its initial nine-year run, events were held in Juarez, Mexico; Las Cruces, New Mexico (six years); Tempe, Arizona; and El Paso/Juarez (1992).
Joining Azar on the event’s leadership team are additional soccer experts who have contributed to the game in the past, including Aydin Gonulsen, longtime NAIA championship coach from the University of Illinois-Springfield, and Marty Mankamyer, former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee and former member and the first woman to serve on the board of directors for the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Previous winners: World Collegiate Soccer Championship
|Year||Champion||No. teams||Venue||Event attendance|
|1984||Pumas de la UNAM (Mexico)||2||Juarez, Mexico||5,000|
|1985||Clemson University (USA)||2||Las Cruces, N.M.||6,100|
|1986||UCLA (USA)||2||Las Cruces, N.M.||11,000|
|1987||University-College Dublin (Ireland)||4||Las Cruces, N.M.||19,000|
|1988||Clemson University (USA)||4||Las Cruces, N.M.||11,600|
|1989||Indiana University (USA)||4||Tempe, Arizona||12,000|
|1990||Santa Clara University (USA)||8||Las Cruces, N.M.||32,000|
|1991||UCLA (USA)||8||Juarez, Mexico||33,000|
|Las Cruces, N.M.|
|1992||University of São Paulo (Brazil)||8||El Paso, Texas||25,000|
For more information visit: www.wcsc.soccer
About San Antonio Sports
San Antonio Sports is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform our community through the power of sport. San Antonio Sports bids on and hosts premier sporting events such as NCAA® championships, which have generated a local economic impact of more than $600 million. San Antonio Sports kids programs, including i play! afterschool, University Health System Go!Kids Challenge™ and SUBWAY® Kids Rock marathon training program, annually touch the lives of more than 150,000 children. Additionally, San Antonio Sports serves as a catalyst for the development of quality recreational and athletic facilities in our community and manages San Antonio Sports School Parks, a program that turns school grounds into community park space. To learn more, visit SanAntonioSports.org.