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

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.

“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.

About Schwan’s USA CUP

The 32nd annual Schwan’s USA CUP will be held at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, July 15-23, 2016.

In 2015 Schwan’s USA CUP featured 1,153 teams, representing 16 countries and 19 states. It is the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere. With an out-of-state economic impact of over $32 million, Schwan’s USA CUP is Minnesota’s largest annual out-of-state tourism event.

The tournament is unique as the only tournament of its size in the world that holds all its games on a single contiguous campus. It’s also known for its ambitious program of off-the-field activities that include an Olympic-style opening ceremony, a daily video show, live webcasting of selected games, social and educational activities for the players and their families, and tours to major Twin Cities tourist destinations. 

About the National Sports Center:

The National Sports Center (NSC) is Minnesota’s premier amateur sports destination, hosting nearly 300 events annually, and welcoming over 42 million visitors since its opening in 1990. The NSC generates over $47 million in annual economic impact.

Components of the facility include a 690-acre campus located in Blaine, Minnesota, the eight-sheet Schwan Super Rink, a soccer stadium, the Gradient Financial Center meeting and convention building, the Victory Links golf course, an indoor Sports Hall with a FieldTurf field, a residence hall, and 54 outdoor natural grass multiuse fields.

The NSC Stadium is the home field for the Minnesota United FC professional soccer team.