Soccer, World Cup fever sweeping Rock Hill - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Soccer, World Cup fever sweeping Rock Hill

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ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) -

Just like in most cities around the US, soccer and World Cup fever have taken over Rock Hill.

"We're just cracking the surface, I think, right now as a soccer country," said Winthrop University's Men's Assistant Soccer Coach Daniel Ridenhour.

Ridenhour heads up the university's 25th soccer camp, which wrapped up Thursday.

Ridenhour says he's seen firsthand the interest level in soccer rise across the city in the recent years, especially amongst young players like Kai Wilson.

"I like the athletic stuff about it and it's really fun," said Wilson.

Wilson says friends his age are tuning into soccer more and more each day, especially with the excitement of the world cup.

"People have been watching it a lot, like even my friends who aren't the biggest fans of soccer have been watching it," said Wilson.

But soccer may be Rock Hill's best kept secret.

Rock Hill's Parks, Recreation and Tourism director John Taylor says the city brings in $8 million per year in hosting soccer tournaments, which include national competitions.

It's a major contributor the city's growth.

"It helps us in a lot of ways and it helps parks, recreation and tourism be a part of the economic engine of Rock Hill," said Taylor.

As for Ridenhour, he says soccer is one sport that will only keeping growing in Rock Hill as the city continues to become immersed in it.

"I think if you look around, there's definitely people that typically don't watch soccer or don't have an interest in it, are now like what's this all about it," said Ridenhour.

Rock Hill city officials consider soccer the largest sport in the city dating back to the early 70's.

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