Hoover excited over college soccer championship

By Jonathan Hardison

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Hoover's happening, this time as the center of the college soccer world.

City officials announced Tuesday the NCAA's men's soccer championship will be played at Regions Park in 2011. Regions is already the host of the SEC baseball tournament and the city is getting ready to host the annual SEC media days starting tomorrow.

When you think of sports in Hoover, your first thought would be Barons games, the SEC baseball tournament, or the circus known as SEC media days set to begin Wednesday.  But, Hoover and the entire Birmingham metro area is trying to branch out by hosting non-traditional sports like the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.

"Everytime we have a successful event it helps build towards the next successful event in landing it," said Gene Hallman with Bruno's Event Team, who helped land the event. "And I'm very proud of what happened today because I do think some of the past success we've had with Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Indy Racing, all that helped lead to landing this event today."

Hallman says this event may get even bigger before it ever comes to town.

"I think the NCAA is looking to find a place to settle for a 3-5 year period. They've given us 2011, and I think there's a chance before '11 is held that they could come back and combine the men and women into a Final Four competition where you have 8 universities coming, all with their fan."

"With the new hotels on Highway 150 and the convenience of shopping and restaurants, Regions Park is an even more attractive venue now than ever before because of all the hotel space we have available," said Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos.

Petelos wants to be sure fans stay in the new hotels close to the park because the calendar may play in his favor when it comes to sales tax revenue.

"It's in December, which is good because with all of the shopping here, I'm sure the folks who make the trip will make a shopping trip out of that trip," Petelos said.

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