Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, NC – Soccer teams from across the southeast are set to converge on Lake Norman the weekend of August 24-25 for the annual Kickoff.  Visit Lake Norman (VLN) and the Carolina Rapids (formerly North Meck Soccer Club) are preparing to welcome 175+ youth soccer teams making the 5th annual Kickoff event the largest to date.  


VLN and the Carolina Rapids entered a unique partnership in 2009 that created the Soccer Series.  The soccer series consists of the August Kickoff event and three events over two weekends in February:  the Friendlies, a Festival, and College Combine.  In addition to the naming rights, the primary intent of the agreement is to focus on the recruitment of travel teams, specifically teams traveling from a distance of 100 miles or greater.

 “Our Lake Norman tourism community is really receiving the benefits of our agreement.  Ten different hotels are hosting teams and close to half of them are sold out due to the event.  We should record 700+ hotel room nights over the weekend,” said Travis Dancy, Director of Sales of VLN.   

 Another reason the tournament has expanded by almost 70 teams in comparison to last year’s event is the hiring of a full-time tournament director.  In the spring, Carolina Rapids hired Neil Orridge as Director of Tournaments and Sponsorships.  Neil adds, “We are delighted with the continued growth of the Kickoff and with the help of Visit Lake Norman and their area hotel, attraction, and restaurants partnerships, we were able to grow the number of teams attending the event by over 70%.  The Carolina Rapids are determined to host the very best soccer tournaments in the area and we are sure the 2013 event will be a great success.”

 The tournament has also expanded to using eight venues this year including Bailey Road Park, Richard Barry Park, Bradford Park, Frank Liske Park, JV Washam Elementary, Hough High School, Lake Norman Charter School and River Run field.  Carolina Rapids and VLN have also introduced the Virtual Race Bag concept to soccer, the first event of its kind to introduce an individual marketing phenomenon to a team sport.  Other new components to the event include a festival style atmosphere to the younger age groups that will include live music at Bradford Park as well as a VIP tent for the coaching directors and club dignitaries hosted by Hickory Tavern.

 If interested in volunteering, visit or sponsorships, contact Neil Orridge at  For additional info, contact Travis Dancy at