What began as a small weekend soccer tournament three years is quickly growing into a regional event, and that's just fine with Dr. Himanshu Desai.
Desai, the co-organizer of the Riverview Soccer Spectacular, says the field for this year's event, scheduled for Labor Day weekend, could reach as many as 40 teams from the Tri-State Area.
That's good for the sport, and it's good for our area.
Desai credits the quality of the competition as the main reason the tournament has grown from 20 teams in its inaugural year to 30 teams last year. That's in addition to the loyal corps of volunteers who work hard to ensure the tournament is an enjoyable experience.
It's a chance for local teams to face some outstanding competition and see how they stack up against their counterparts from throughout the region.
While the action on the field should be impressive, even more important to area businesses is the boost they can expect to receive that weekend. The families of participants in the event will stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, buy gasoline at local stations and shop in our local stores.
It's a chance to showcase the many good things our area has to offer to an audience that may not be familiar with us.
That's why the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the Steubenville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Progress Alliance all are offering their support.
The tournament is another feather in the cap of the Jefferson Kiwanis Youth Soccer Club. Founded in 1978, the club has succeeded well in its mission of bringing youth soccer to our area, serving more than 900 athletes this year.
Sponsors who have stepped forward to help make the event a success include IBEW Local 246, Trinity Health System, the YES Team, DPS Penn, the Target Shop and the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.
Thanks to that support, and the efforts of Desai and his tournament co-organizers, area soccer stands to get a sizable shot in the arm during the Labor Day weekend.