Soccer clubs prepare for big tournament; citywide impact even greater

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Across the nation, soccer is becoming one of the fastest-growing youth sports — not too far behind football and basketball.

Soccer WeekIn the Rapid City area, clubs like the Black Hills Rapids have created a space for a number of kids to learn and enjoy the sport, whether competitive or just for fun.

“We have a level of soccer for everybody,” Black Hills Rapids Director of Coaching Dave Sharp said. “We have over a thousand players in our rec program that starts at age three, and it goes all the way up. Then we have over 400 players in our competitive program.”

Currently, the club is preparing for the big Rushmore Cup, where over 100 teams and their families will compete in Rapid City from across five other states.

CEO and President of Visit Rapid City Brook Kaufman sees both the social and economic additions this tournament will have on the city, which will bring out thousands. And as she works on building a youth sports commission in the city, she is working to plan accordingly.

“We obviously need to be very mindful of the things that are already in place and the programs that are already happening,” Kaufman said. “The tournaments and the events and the clubs people have to say, in the landscape of what they have already, what is the opportunity for us to still welcome people and leverage youth sports to drive some of that economic impact.

One of the main points she has identified in creating a year-round sports opportunity is finding ideal locations and venues. And as the sport’s popularity continues to expand, so does the goal for Sharp and the soccer club.

“The club continues to grow and expand,” he said. “And hopefully we can expand the complex a bit, too.”

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