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What does it take to be a guest player

07/16/2011, 1:55pm CDT
By Tiffany Willits

It is surprising the various reasons that guest players choose to play at Schwan's USA CUP. The USA CUP guest player program is designed for coaches that are short players due to injury as well as any other conflicting commitments. The guest player program connects coaches with players who want to have a great USA CUP experience and each team can have up to six guest players. 


NWIFC Boys' U19 Galaxy from Spencer, Iowa

It is surprising the various reasons that guest players choose to play at the Schwan's USA CUP, presented by PUMA. The USA CUP guest player program is designed for coaches that are short players due to injury as well as any other conflicting commitments. The guest player program connects coaches with players who want to have a great USA CUP experience and each team can have up to six guest players.

"Interested players registered with USSF or FIFA affiliated associations can fill out a guest player application online," said Zac Carlson, sports service intern and guest player coordinator.

"A high priority for foreign players is to place them accordingly. Having the chance to play with an American team is a great experience and the same idea goes both ways, whether it's an American player on a foreign team," said Carlson.

Just what are some situations that guest players are needed or requested? "Having injuries on a team and needing to fill spots is one reason," said Carlson. Colombia purposely left extra space on their roster to get the experience of playing with U.S. players. One Colombia player is trying to be recruited by colleges, so he is coming as a guest player. Another example would be in the case of a family event that a player can't make the tournament; a guest playing opportunity would be requested."

This year at USA CUP 305 players signed up as guest players and 201 were placed. The Red River Soccer Club Girls' U14 Premier White from West Fargo, North Dakota will be having two guest players from Mexico in the weekend tournament.

"We were short players this year for USA CUP so we decided to add guest players," stated Stephanie Sumers, team manager. "This is the first year we've used guest players and so far it has worked out very well."

Renaud Soccer Club Girls' U14 from O'Fallen, Missouri will be having two guest players from Puerto Rico and one from Canada in the weekend tournament. "The guest players were brought to me from the USA CUP staff. Coach Tom Renaud made the decision to go ahead with adding them," said Shari Lecomte, team manager. "All of our athletes are getting along fine. They jumped right in and started playing and the girls welcomed them."

"During the rain delay on Friday, we all met in the Schwan's hockey rink and my girls asked our guest players about speaking Spanish. The USA CUP guest player program is a good idea and it helps the kids get to know other cultures. Getting the chance to play with teams from other countries to see how they play soccer is wonderful. My girls are really having a great time with it," said Lecomte.


NWIFC Boys' U19 Galaxy from Spencer, Iowa welcome guest players #7 Menelik Kaza-Amlak from U.S. Virgin Islands and #22 André Santos from Brazil. Kaza-Amlak and Santos pose with their team standing to the far right of the top row next to their coach. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Willits
The NWIFC Boys' U19 Galaxy from Spencer, Iowa has two guest players. Joining Iowa this year will be Menelik Kaza-Amlak from the U.S. Virgin Islands and André Santos from Brazil. In 2008 Santos played as a guest player on the Alaska USA CUP team. Joining him was Carter Gerdeman, who is a current member of the NWIFC Boys' Galaxy team. They will be reunited on the field this year.

"We added guest players to give our Iowa boys an international and cultural experience. The only small issue of mixing my players from Iowa with the U.S. Virgin Island player and the Brazil player is the language barrier. However, I have high hopes that all the players will presume the language of soccer which is universal and that they will mesh on the field," said team manager Colleen Gerdeman.

"The USA CUP guest player program is awesome. I've been involved with guest players on our own team as it is a tremendous opportunity to meet and gain new friends," Gerdeman smiled. "All three of my kids have been guest players on other teams in the USA CUP. This is my seventh year coming to USA CUP and I've come in many different forms: manager, coach and parent. The opportunity has provided my kids with a lifelong, great experience."

Those interested in adding guest players to their roster for future USA CUP tournaments are encouraged to visit www.usacup.org and search "team central" to find the guest player forms and rules. 

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Tag(s): July 16, 2011