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Schwan’s USA CUP on track to host a record number of teams in 2016

06/15/2016, 11:15am CDT
By Barclay Kruse, Chief Communications Officer

BLAINE, Minnesota (June 15, 2016) – After hosting a record number of teams (1,153) in 2015, the 32nd edition of Schwan’s USA CUP, July 15-23, is on track to break last year’s record and tournament officials are confident another registration record will be set.

The tournament, largest in the Western Hemisphere, is held on the 54 playing fields at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.

The Opening Ceremony is one of the highlights of Schwan's USA CUP. This year's Opening Ceremony will be held Tuesday, July 19.

“We couldn’t be happier with our strong total numbers, and we’re looking forward to hosting the biggest USA CUP ever,” said USA CUP director Jen Een. “But we’re also really proud of the diversity of the teams that have registered so far. It’s what we’re known for of course, but it still gets us excited to see teams registering from all over the world.

To date, teams have registered from 19 different countries and 20 states.

National Sports Center staff has already booked teams from five different continents so far: North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Countries represented include Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Uganda and the United States.

Canadian teams have registered from Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The following U.S. states are represented: Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

A global tournament

As the largest youth soccer tournament in the western hemisphere held at the world’s largest soccer complex, more than 20,000 teams have combined for more than 52,000 games in USA CUP history, drawing millions of visitors to Blaine over the course of 31 years of tournament play. By playing a global game and hosting teams from around the world, USA CUP celebrates the numerous cultures that come together to enjoy the game of soccer.

Here is a quick glimpse of three of the international visiting teams playing in the 2016 Schwan’s USA CUP

Gonzo Soccer, 19 girls, Satelite, Mexico.

Gonzo Soccer was founded in 2009 by Monica Gonzales, a former captain of Mexico's Women's National Team, and Alye LaHue, the Director of Marketing for the Chicago Red Stars. The goal of Gonzo Soccer is to teach players life skills that will help them stay in school and avoid potential problems. Gonzo Soccer currently has academies in twelve locations in Colombia, Mexico and the United States.

Gonzo Soccer Mexico started in 2013. The players on the girls' U19 team come from all over Mexico City. Each participant goes through an application process to receive a scholarship that allows them to participate on the team. They use soccer as a vehicle to discover their potential and inspire themselves to reach it.

Grótta/KR, 15 girls, Reykjavik, Iceland

The small island of Iceland (pop. 350,000) has caught the eye of the soccer world in recent years. The Icelandic women´s national team is on track to qualify for the third time for the European Cup finals and is ranked 19th in the world. Equally impressive, the men´s national team qualified for the European Cup finals for the first time and is now ranked 36th in the world.

Schwan’s USA CUP 2016 welcomes Grótta/KR from Iceland, playing in the tournament for the first time.

The team is based in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Grótta and KR are two soccer clubs located in the west side of town. Both clubs were down in players and struggled to build teams until the autumn of 2013 when the clubs decided to unify and play as one. 

The newly formed team combined their club names, forming the current team known as Grótta/KR. The players decided to keep the two jerseys and to take turns using them during alternate games. This decision has proved to be successful and it's clear that the two teams are stronger together.

Training during the cold, windy and snowy Icelandic winter can be difficult. It takes drive, perseverance and determination to push through those conditions and these Viking soccer players never complain or give up.

Shanghai-Xingta Primary School, 11 girls, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai-Xingta Primary School is one of the traditional Chinese football schools and has a long history. It is the cradle of Shanghai women's football, and has hosted numerous football matches and activities. In March 8, 2016, it hosted the second Girls’ Football Festival, launched by the Asian Football Confederation.

The 11 girls’ team from the Shanghai-Xingta Primary School has participated in numerous competitions under coach Yu-lin Yang. They were champions of the Shanghai Campus Football League in 2014 and 2015, finished third in 2016, and were champions of Shanghai Red Scarf Football League in 2015.

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