International college soccer tournament coming to S.A. for next five years
San Antonio will host the World Collegiate Soccer Championship’s revival in March 2018, the first of five years the city has pledged to house the tournament, after a 25-year hiatus.
The championship will include men’s teams from eight countries, with confirmed participation from Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Japan and Mexico. Invitations have been sent to Canada, the NAIA and NCAA. Eight teams will be ultimately chosen for the 2018 edition.
Comalander Stadium and Heroes Stadium will be the tournament’s venues, with Heroes hosting the final. Additionally, the stadiums will have the World Pre-Collegiate Soccer Championship Showcase and World Collegiate Club Championship Showcase, which San Antonio Sports expect to attract a total of more than 340 teams.
The tournament is projected to produce more than $13 million in annual economic impact for the greater San Antonio area, according to a study done by Steven R. Nivin Economic Research & Consulting.
Beyond the financial gains, President and CEO of San Antonio Sports Russ Bookbinder said the championship will give the city another notch on its soccer resume, which will be crucial when the time comes for bigger bids.
“We want ourselves to be considered in the mix for every major soccer event that comes out, and in order to do that, you have to continue to build your resume,” Bookbinder said. “This is a large scale, international event that helps build our soccer resume. So when we go out to try to move up in the bid process and be considered for larger bids, we have more and more of a story to tell.”
Bob Azar, the executive director of the WCSC, said Texas’s appeal internationally was important for the selection, and unlike Houston and Dallas, San Antonio is more walkable.
“When you go to foreign countries, they want to know where you’re from, you don’t say the city, you say Texas,” Azar said. “They always say, ‘Oh, Texas,’ and they have this image of Texas. When you say Texas, you can see their shoulders go back.”