Chapel Hill recently made livability.com’s list of the nation’s "Top 10 Soccer Cities" — ranking sixth overall in the United States and third in the South behind Rock Hill, S.C., and Mufreesboro, Tenn.
The web site notes "there are more than 5,200 soccer players in the city, which has three main clubs – Rainbow Soccer, Triangle United and the YMCA. Triangle United is the largest of these clubs and has approximately 3,000 players each season. Rainbow Soccer is the oldest soccer club in Chapel Hill. It was formed in 1971 and averages about 1,600 players each year."
What most of the 10 have in common — besides soccer fields — is a college or university within 5 miles.
Even the survey’s No. 1 pick, Overland Park, Kan., home of a $36 million soccer complex that hosts multiple national youth tournaments, holds the University of Kansas-Edwards branch and is located just a couple of miles south of the NCAA’s old headquarters outside Kansas City.
The top 10, with nearby school included:
1. Overland Park, Kan. (NCAA, Kansas-Edwards)
2. Plano, Texas, (Strayer University)
3. San Bernardino, Cal. (Cal State)
4. Rock Hill, S.C. (Winthrop)
5. Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Middle Tennessee State)
6. Chapel Hill (UNC)
7. Appleton, Wisc. (Lawrence University)
8. West Jordan, Utah (University of Utah)
9. Scottsdale, Ariz. (Arizona State)
10. Princeton, N.J. (Princeton).