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Volunteers find family feel at Schwan’s USA CUP

07/18/2014, 3:30pm CDT
By Isaac Haight, NSC Media Intern

Teams and referees travel from across the country and from every corner of the world to come participate in Schwan’s USA CUP, and so do volunteers.

Volunteers don’t do it for the money, the glory of the job or to boost their resume. They come simply because they enjoy it.

Andrew Nelson is in his 18th year volunteering for the tournament, and he said the great friendships he has built over the years is what keeps him and many others coming back.

“USA CUP is a lot about soccer, but sometimes it’s more about friendships too,” Nelson said. “I think that is what brings me back every year.”

Nelson grew up in the Blaine area and his connections to the tournament go back to before his volunteering days when he played and refereed in the games.

Although it might not seem like a terribly large commitment, but it has become one since Nelson moved out to Seattle for his job. Between buying a plane ticket and taking time off work, he has made big personal sacrifices in order to partake in the tournament once again.

“For a lot of people here it’s vacation time,” Nelson said. “Yeah the plane tickets are expensive. I could be going somewhere else for vacation. I could be spending more time with my family while I’m here, but USA CUP is like a family too.”

Family is always important and for Nelson he can see both his real family and his USA CUP family. Those two things combined with an event he loves is all the convincing he needs.

The atmosphere and opportunity everyone gets when they come to USA CUP is so unique and that is what makes for a great experience according to Nelson.

“Even if I don’t know a team I will still sit and watch a game because it’s fun for me to watch two different cultures come together,” Nelson said. “Even though I am not a part of it, it’s kind of neat to take it in firsthand.”

As for his vacation to USA CUP, family is what keeps him coming back. When others might find themselves on a beach or across the world, Nelson finds himself driving a cart, working long hours and taking in a multitude of soccer games.

“It’s like coming back to a family,” Nelson said. “You’re kind of a part of it forever.”

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Tag(s): July 18, 2014