The Bear Branch Soccer Fields were filled with activity during the 11th Annual Copa Rayados International Cup, held in The Woodlands on November 20-26, 2023. The youth soccer tournament brought together talented young players for an exciting competition during Thanksgiving week.

Three hundred and forty youth soccer teams participated in the tournament, including 75 international teams from Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Columbia, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. Other teams traveled from across the U.S. to attend, flying in from several states including California, Washington, and New York. Throughout the five days of competition, approximately 60,000 people attended the tournament to participate and watch. 

Copa Rayados Playing at Bear Branch

"This tournament is an awesome opportunity for young soccer players to compete with teams from around the country and the world," said Nick Wolda, President of Visit The Woodlands. "It's been a great experience welcoming the teams to The Woodlands for the past eight years." 

In preparation for Copa Rayados International, Visit The Woodlands worked closely with Premier Soccer Services' Tournament Director and local hoteliers to secure special room rates for soccer teams and their families. This year's tournament averaged 4.5 room nights per stay, totaling to approximately 2,700 booked hotel rooms in The Woodlands and a total economic impact of $2.2 million. 

Visit The Woodlands also developed a microsite for tournament attendees, which offered information about Bear Branch Sports Fields, nearby restaurants, transportation options, and things to see and do while off the field. To further enhance the experience, Visit The Woodlands provided teams with Visitor Guides, maps with "Top 10" suggestions, and branded spiral notebooks for team coaches. 

Coach talking to young soccer players during COPA Rayados International Cup in The Woodlands, Texas

Young soccer player catches ball during COPA Rayados International Tournament in The Woodlands, Texas

"We’re really pleased with the growth of the Copa Rayados Internacional in The Woodlands," said Scott Spencer, Tournament Director. "In our 8th year here, we had over 75 international teams from 8 countries and 340 total teams.  It’s recognized as one of the top youth soccer tournaments in the nation and the destination of The Woodlands is key for teams.  From the excellent facilities to the support of the Township and Visit The Woodlands to all the things to do in the area, it makes for a perfect combination during Thanksgiving and Black Friday.”

The Copa Rayados International Cup is scheduled to return to The Woodlands in 2024 and 2025. 


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