The 2012 Alaska Youth Soccer State Cup will run from today through Monday at the Kenai City Fields.
Paul Ostrander, the vice president of the Kenai Peninsula Soccer Club, said 38 teams will play in the tournament, including seven from the KPSC.
With about 16 players on each roster, that means over 600 players will be storming the fields.
Those players and their parents also will be flooding restaurants and hotels, a welcome shot in the arm for a visitor industry which has been hampered this summer by a meager return of king salmon.
"It should be pretty good," Ostrander said. "For every athlete, there should be two or three adults coming with them. And we're probably talking about them staying for four or five days."
This is the third time KPSC has hosted the State Cup, but it is the first time the whole tournament has taken place at one complex. The last time the State Cup was here, in 2009, the Kenai City Fields and Kenai Middle School were used.
"Anchorage and Kincaid have established the same type of thing, but up until that point it was only Fairbanks and us," Ostrander said. "It's nice to have a tournament of this size in one location. It's a huge thing the city did for us."
While the central Kenai Peninsula has that top-notch outdoor facility, it still does not have the indoor facilities of Anchorage. Ostrander said Anchorage squads have been dominating the State Cup.
Last year, KPSC squads did not win any State Cup titles.
"We're at a distinct disadvantage with Anchorage, because they are able to play 12 months of the year because of indoor facilities," Ostrander said. "This year, it wasn't until early May that we were able to play outside.
"Our season will be ending in four months, while Anchorage teams get 12 months."
Nevertheless, Ostrander said a few KPSC teams have a shot at winning a title on home turf this year.
"I hope that folks that have kids that are younger playing, or maybe playing at the Boys and Girls Club, get a chance to watch some of these teams play," Ostrander said. "I think people will be surprised at the level some of these teams play at."
Admission to the tournament is free.
The first games for KPSC squads are as follows: Boys Under-12, 2 p.m. today; Boys Under-13, 2 p.m. Friday; Boys Under-15, 4 p.m. today; Girls Under-13, noon today; Girls Under-14, 10 a.m. Friday; Girls Under-15, 8 a.m. Friday; and Girls Under-16, 4 p.m. Friday.