FBU attracts football fans and tourism dollars to Naples
NAPLES, Florida – More than a thousand of the country’s top young footballers are in Naples this weekend to fight for a national championship.
As these children fight on the ground, their families generate millions of dollars for our community.
Braylon Freeman plays for the Ginn Elite 10-and-under soccer team in Cleveland, Ohio, but the team is in Naples for the University of Football (FBU) National Championships.
“We just work hard, which is why we deserve to be here,” Braylon said.
The event brings together thousands of players aged 9 to 16 in town for five days of football.
Forty-two teams from five age groups survived a domestic tournament to secure the right to play in the final in Napoli.
“That’s what he works for,” Samuel Singletary said of his son, Josiyah, who plays for Connecticut’s 10U team. “He works all year round for his Pop Warner team, to be recognized on the big stage. He tries, plays and takes on some of the best kids in the state, the country. “
Josiyah is among the best of the best competing at Paradise Coast Sports Complex, which opened in 2020 at the City Gate complex near I-75 and Collier Boulevard. in Naples.
Collier County spent $ 104.5 million on the resort in an effort to grow its sports tourism industry.
FBU officials claim that this event, coupled with this shiny new complex, attracts people from all over the country.
“We’ll have helpers from Los Angeles to Boston, from Indiana to Texas, from Miami to Seattle, all here on the Paradise Coast over the next five days,” said Steven Quinn, co-owner of FBU who moved the company in Naples, New Jersey three years ago.
Teams from 18 states are in Naples for FBU, and they’re excited to be here this time of year.
“We’re from Cleveland, Ohio,” said Antonio Jackson, coach of the Ginn Elite 10U team. “We just trained in the snow last week, and now we’re in Heaven.”
The Collier County Convention and Visitors Bureau says FBU is one of its biggest tourist draws of the year.
County officials said the event will generate around four thousand hotel nights this year. This represents a direct economic impact of approximately $ 2 million for the residents of Collier County.