Thousands of players will step foot on the 46 soccer fields at the National Sports Center to play in the 2014 Schwan’s USA CUP. Many of these players may be a little surprised by the sheer number of fields, playing in the stadium or the atmosphere surrounding the tournament.
A girls U15 team consisting of 18 players that stepped on the pitch at field A1 this afternoon noticed something that was unique to them, grass.
Unlike many players who travel to the tournament, the Yuwa Supergoats from Jharkhand, India do not regularly play with grass covering their fields.
One of the Yuwa Supergoats enjoys a laugh during warm-ups
In fact, head coach Franz Gastler said the girls have played the majority of their soccer careers on dirt.
“In India the girls practice on dirt and have also played in tall grass,” Gastler said. “They wear down any grass by just practicing on it. If you go on Google Earth you can even see where we practice because it is all brown.”
After the Supergoats’ first game many of the players gave their opinions of the facility and playing fields.
Supergoats defender Milo said the playing surface helped with footing, but seeing so many fields with grass was new to her.
“Playing on the grass makes it easier to [plant and cut],” Milo said. “Back at home we do not have this nice of fields and we don’t have this many fields. It is much cleaner and more organized here.”
Although playing on grass is nice for the Supergoats, earning a trip to the United States was a tall task for each individual and the team as a whole.
A Milwaukee Kickers player gets a photo with the Supergoats after the match
Coming from across the world to play at Schwan’s USA CUP took a lot of fundraising and support from sponsors. However, individually the girls earned their right to participate in the trip from their peers.
The girls choose who comes through a peer evaluation system that evaluates everything from playing ability to study habits said Supergoats defender Sophia.
“We decide who comes from each player’s honesty, education, responsibility, unselfishness and [playing ability],” Sophia said. “We have to be good at all of those things to be on the team.”
Gastler said making the team is no small task, because there is plenty of competition for the girls among their peers.
“There are about 150 players in the program and 50 of them are on the senior team,” Gastler said. “Of those 50, 18 were selected by their peers, but it is not decided purely on their football skills.”
The 18 girls who made the trip and are playing in this year’s tournament are deserving of their spots. Playing on grass is just the icing on the cake.
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Tag(s): July 11, 2014