The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has chosen Patrick Henry Community College to host the 2015 National D1 Soccer Championship at the Smith River Sports Complex.
PHCC Athletic Director Kathleen Brown said this is a huge opportunity for the college, Martinsville/Henry County and Virginia.
“This will put us in the national spotlight for that entire week,” she said. “Just the fact that we’re new with soccer in general makes it even more awesome that we are able to host this tournament. Region X has only hosted one national tournament for cross country in the 90s in South Carolina, so it’s very special that we were able to get one.”
Bringing a national tournament of this caliber to Martinsville/Henry County was a joint effort among PHCC, the Smith River Sports Complex and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
After being named a finalist and receiving a site visit in February, it was voted as one of three tournament sites for the next three years. Region 14 will host the tournament in 2016 in Tyler, Texas and in 2017, Region 17 will host in Darton, Ga., upon further review from the NJCAA.
Christopher Parker, PHCC’s senior athletic administrator and Women’s Region X Director, said this is the first time a NJCAA national tournament has ever been held in Virginia, and only the second time a national tournament has been held within Region X.
“I’m thrilled at the partnerships with the EDC and Smith River Sports Complex to bring the first national tournament to Virginia,” he said. “I applaud Kathleen (Brown), Billy Russo, Jennifer Doss and all the other parties that had a hand in making this happen. This is a huge accomplishment for the college and our community.”
Region X consists of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition to the soccer championship in 2015, Kinston, N.C. will host the Division III Baseball Tournament from 2015-2017.
Brown said she, Russo, director of the Smith River Sports Complex, and Doss, director of tourism and film at the EDC, collaborated on the tournament’s bid process last fall. “The NJCAA’s number one qualification was having a quality site,” Brown said.
She said they also had to meet other criteria including having enough hotel space, having activities for visiting students, and offering facilities at PHCC for students to have access to academic resources.
The staff at Smith River Sports Complex is looking forward to co-hosting the championship, said Russo. They are “eager to begin the planning process with the NJCAA and our community partners, especially PHCC, who we look forward to partnering with on yet another great sporting event for Martinsville/Henry County.”
Doss added that hosting the tournament is a chance to highlight the great things about this community.
“Being selected to host this national tournament is a testament to the superb resources we have to offer,” she said. “Hosting this tournament allows us to showcase our community to the nation as a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall echoed Doss’ excitement for the community hosting a national tournament. He said, “We are thrilled that our community will play host to this prestigious tournament. We look forward to working with all our partners to help make this a great event.”
Many spectators and athletes are expected to attend the tournament, according to Brown. She said attendance may vary depending on which teams make it to the tournament.
“I anticipate quite a few people from Martinsville/Henry County and the surrounding communities coming out because soccer is so huge in our area right now,” she said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for kids to come out and learn more about the game.”
To keep some of the players occupied, Brown said the PYSL (Piedmont Youth Soccer League) is considering organizing a camp in conjunction with the tournament so the college players can work with younger athletes.
The tournament will be held from Nov. 9-14, 2015. To find out more, visit www.njcaa.org.