The Red Diamond® Classic youth soccer tournament will draw more than 255 of the region’s elite teams to Birmingham in March 3-4 and 10-11. Now in its 20th year, the tournament has generated $106 million in economic development for the region.
The Red Diamond® Classic youth soccer tournament, which draws more than 255 of the region’s elite teams to Birmingham in March, is entering its 20th year. During that time the tournament has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region and generated more than $106 million in economic impact from visitors staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping at Birmingham stores.
“At its heart this tournament is the culmination of the hard work and discipline of 5,500 exceptional young athletes, working as teams toward mutual success,” said Bill Bowron, Chairman, President, and CEO of Red Diamond. “Initially we became involved because of the
soccer—I coached my son’s team and saw young people come away with the discipline and team
building skills that the sport instills. And as our involvement grew, the significant benefits to the region became obvious. We work to show everyone the best that Birmingham has to offer. We don’t want them to play soccer and then just go back to the hotel. We point them to our incredible food scene and to visit arts and cultural sites around town. We showcase our region through this widely attended tournament and generate significant revenue for the area in the process.”
“When you consider the growth in Birmingham over the last 20 years, it’s remarkable,” said David Galbaugh with the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “The city these players travel to today has leaped forward from what it was in 1998. The hospitality is the same, but the number of amenities and restaurants has skyrocketed. And the Red Diamond Classic has created a host of return visitors who can speak to Birmingham’s amenities and hospitality.”
The best teams from around the Southeast will join Alabama’s premier teams for highly competitive soccer played at 21 fields throughout Jefferson and Shelby counties. The tournament draws players ages nine to 17, with many of the teams being state champions or finalists. The boys will compete March 3-4, with the girls competing March 10-11. The tournament is directed by and benefits the Birmingham United Soccer Association (BUSA.)
“The level of play is high, and that’s what’s given the Red Diamond Classic this kind of longevity,” said Kevin Laux, BUSA tournament director. “We have teams that return year after year to compete with the best teams from throughout the Southeast. We work to make sure they’ll have a good experience and want to come back.”
To see the players in action, visit birminghamunited.com for the complete schedule and list of teams.
Founded in 1906, Red Diamond is one of two of the oldest coffee and tea companies in the United States continuously held by the same family. Headquartered in Moody, Alabama, Red Diamond is dedicated to bringing the best products and service directly to fine hotels, restaurants, offices, institutions, and homes across the country.