Bad weather forces soccer tournament cancellation; economy to take a hit

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The snowy weather has spoiled some weekend fun: the Rockford Park District canceled a three-day soccer tournament that will end up putting a $1 million dent in the local economy.

Canceling the Puma Championship Cup is “obviously, one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in a long time,” said Frank Mateus, the tournament’s director.

Sportscore One and Two were supposed to be filled with 15,000 soccer players and 550 teams this weekend, but Mother Nature had a different plan.

“The last few days, it just seems like there’s a decline [in the weather.] There’s going to be more rain. It’s going to be even colder temperatures. So, we didn’t want to put families and kids in environments where this is not where they want to be,” Mateus said.

The second weekend of the tournament was canceled early Friday after heavy rain and the forecast of upcoming snow.

The tournament would have been an economic boost to the Rockford area, bringing in an estimated $2 million annually. 

Lindsasy Arellano, Director of Services for the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “We’ve heard from many hotels and many restaurants, asking will it be rescheduled? Or, what’s the deal? Because they will miss a lot of business over the weekend, unfortunately.”

One Rockford staple that the cancelation impacts is Lino’s.

“It’s really hard to recover, because our normal customers, sometimes we turn them away because the reservations have been booked for a while,” said Charlie Schweinler, Lino’s owner. 

Mateus says several other tournaments and area games have also been canceled due to weather. He says that, despite the loss this weekend, Rockford will still be considered for other tournaments in the future.

“We’ve got the good facilities,” he said. “We’ve got good teams. We’ve got good environments. So, that’s going to continue, and it’s going to grow. I honestly believe that.”

Mateus says both sports facilities are booked from this weekend through mid-July with games. The indoor games of the Puma Cup were still played, including a college match between UW Madison and Loyola University.

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