NJCAA Men’s and Women’s Division II Soccer Championship in Tucson for the first time, bringing in millions for the city

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Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 8:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Teams from across the country are in Tucson for the NJCAA Men’s and Women’s Division II Soccer Championships.

This is the first time it’s being hosted at Kino Sports Complex, and it’s the first time five Arizona colleges are in the tournament.

Nick Pazzi, Sports Sales Manager for Visit Tucson said the big tournament is kicking off to be a huge success for more than just the players and coaches on the field. He said the attendance is boosting business at hotels, restaurants and businesses in southern Arizona.

Pazzi said the event will raise at least $1.5 million for the city.

“To house all of the athletes, coaches, staff and feed them all, it’s great for our community and it’s helped put almost all of our hotels at full occupancy this week,” said Pazzi.

More than 700 players and coaches are in southern Arizona for the tournament, and most brought friends and family with them. Pazzi said it’s events like this one that boost business in southern Arizona.

“The way the schedule is set up on a daily basis, the teams do have a lot of free time. So they do have time in between games and practicing to enjoy the Tucson community,”” said Pazzi. “Try some of our great restaurants and even have time for the Pima Air and Space Museum or Sonoran Desert Museum or a quick drive up Mount Lemmon.”

More importantly, Pima Community College Athletic Director, Jim Monaco says the players are enjoying every second on the field.

“That’s what’s made this worth while. Every single person I’ve spoken to loves it and the funny thing is, I’ve had losing coaches come past me and say for what it’s worth, this is the nicest we’ve ever had for a tournament,” said Monaco.

After two years of planning, working with hotels and Visit Tucson to make sure they could successfully host, the goal is to be a part of the NJCAA rotational locations in the future.

“That would mean every three years we would have it twice and that would be great. The facility itself, Kino Sports is all for it so we’re really hoping they consider that,” said Monaco. “Our Chancellor wants it and so do I. It’s great for the college and it’s great for Tucson in the dollars and cents area where even if teams don’t finish and they lose out, they’re still staying another three four days.”

The weather here has been a fan favorite. Last year the event was held in Wichita, Kansas, which is currently sitting in the 30s.

Monaco said players and coaches are happy to be playing in much warmer weather.

The event will be going on through Saturday. You can purchase tickets at the door or on the colleges website.