words // Katie Rosenberg
Teams from across the nation and the world gathered in Blaine, Minnesota for the 29th annual USA CUP weekend tournament June 12 through June 14. This year, the girls from Tokiwagi Gakuen High School, U16 team from Sendai, Japan, will bring home the hardware after defeating Super Elite teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota to win their bracket.
Tokiwagi Gakuen has been participating in USA CUP for several years and past teams included players who went on to compete for the Japanese National Football team. Previous USA CUP competitor Saki Kumagai scored the championship-winning penalty kick during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Tokiwagi Gakuen is slated to play during the USA CUP weeklong tournament beginning Tuesday, July 16, in the U16 girls’ gold-level bracket.
Four teams from the Minnesota Thunder Academy played their way into the Super Elite division finals. The U16 boys’ team scrapped its way through a hard-fought game with Costa Rica, winning the game 2-1 in extra time.
The Minnesota Thunder Academy is scheduled to play in the weeklong tournament, kicking off against Cruz Azul Seminario from Mexico Tuesday afternoon.
words // Katie Rosenberg
Soccer teams from 17 different countries and 17 states will converge in Blaine, Minnesota for the 29th annual SCHWAN’S USA CUP. The event is comprised of two tournaments, USA CUP Weekend, held July 12 – 14 and a weeklong USA CUP tourney, held July 16 – 20. The CUP kicks off July 12 at the National Sports Center’s expansive 48 fields.
image via USA Cup.
Organizers are also planning a Super Elite event, billed as a tournament within the tournament. It will feature an invitational field of 15 boys’ and 11 girls’ teams playing in the U14 and U16 divisions. This elite tournament will be held July 12-14.
Organizers say they have an exciting opening ceremony planned for the beginning of the weeklong tournament on Tuesday, July 16. “This year, Rock the CUP returns with Jeremiah James Korfe rocking the stadium with a live concert immediately after the end of the ceremony,” said Barclay Kruse, the Chief Communications Officer with the National Sports Center.
On Wednesday night, soccer players will have the opportunity to catch a pro match between Minnesota United FC professional soccer club and FC Edmonton. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. in the NSC Stadium.
Kruse noted that more than 430 referees from around the world will officiate during the weekend and weeklong tournaments. There are also about 150 international players who will stay with Twin Cities-area soccer families this year through the Homestay Program. “This gives the hosts and guests alike the opportunity to truly experience the international language of soccer,” Kruse said. Players from Haiti, Japan, Mexico, England, and Costa Rica are involved in this year’s program.
Eastbay is proud to be the official on-site retailer at the USA CUP. In addition to a retail store and the “Where Athletes Are” tour, Eastbay staff will be working with elite athletes to field test the newest soccer cleats. Elite soccer players from across the globe will review cleats by position, playing style, and playing conditions. Eastbay will make their reviews available to you so you can pick the perfect cleat for your game.
Be sure to follow Eastbay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates from the tournament throughout the weekend.
Learn more about the Eastbay Field Tested program here.
Learn more about SCHWAN’S USA CUP here.