Youth soccer: South Washington County takes on the worldTwenty-five teams from the Woodbury, East Ridge and Cottage Grove athletic associations competed in the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere — the Schwan’s USA Cup youth soccer tournament, held July 15-23, at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
Twenty-five teams from the Woodbury, East Ridge and Cottage Grove athletic associations competed in the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere — the Schwan’s USA Cup youth soccer tournament, held July 15-23, at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
In the 27th-annual event, 15 south Washington County teams competed in the weeklong USA Cup — nine from Woodbury, three from East Ridge and three from Cottage Grove and teams took part in the weekend tournament — eight from Woodbury, one from East Ridge and one from Cottage Grove.
At the Schwan’s USA Cup, teams can qualify for different playoffs based on their finishes in group games.
In the week-long tournament, The Cottage Grove United 15-year old girls team won the championship of the top flight, the “A” Gold flight, beating the Prior Lake Storm 2-1 in the finals. To reach the championship, Cottage Grove beat the NW Kickers 5-0 in the first round, Dakota Rev 6-1 in the second round on the Rebels SC 3-0 in the semifinals.
The Cottage Grove United 15-year old girls were the only area team to win a championship at the Schwan’s Cup this year.
The Woodbury Gunners 15-year old boys team won its way to the “A” Gold flight semifinals before falling 3-1 to the MTA Elite 96 White. Woodbury beat the CMYSA Strikers 1-0 in the first round.
The Woodbury SC Pumas 11-year old team reached the “A” flight playoff semifinals, earning a first-round bye then beating the Blaine Riot 2-1, before falling 4-3 to the NorthStar FC 4-3.
The Woodbury Galaxy 12-year old boys team earned a trip to the “A” Gold flight playoffs, beating the Academy Sports Club of Kentucky 4-2 in the first round, but falling 3-2 to Ela Red from Illinois in the semifinals.
The Woodbury Azzurri 16-year old girls team earned a trip to the “A” Gold flight playoffs and won its first game 4-2 over the PTSC Celtics, but fell 5-2 to the BFSC Black Storm in the second round.
Cottage Grove Joga boys 17-year old team reached the “A” Gold flight playoffs, but fell 3-1 to Universidad La Sall of Mexico in the first round.
The Woodbury United girls 17-year old team reached the “A” Silver flight playoffs and earned a first-round bye, but lost to the EMSSC Pride of Illinois 2-1 in the second round.
Also, in the 12-year old boys “B” Silver flight playoffs, Woodbury had two teams qualify, with Woodbury falling to the NLS Swarm 4-0 in the second round and the Woodbury Stampede losing 2-0 to the SRU Academy from South Dakota.
The Woodbury Inferno 13-year old girls team reached the “A” playoff silver flight, but fell to Hastings FC in the opening round. The Woodbury SC Dynamite girls team qualified for the 14-year-old “A” Gold flight playoffs, but lost to the Fire SC 4-1 in the first round.
In the weekend tournament, The Woodbury 14-year old boys team reached the “A” flight tournament final, beating the Howard Hurricanes 3-2 in the playoff opener, but fell to Linces Tamayo Chicago 2-0 in the championship.
Also, the East Ridge Raptors 11-year old girls team made it to the “B” flight tournament semifinals before losing 4-1 to WSEU. Beat West Fargo Bombers 3-0 in the opening round and the Cottage Grove United 13-year old boys reached the “A” flight tournament semifinals, beating the Eau Claire Beasts 1-0 in the first round, before falling 3-0 to MTA 98 White.
This year, 936 teams took part in the week and weekend tournament, which was a greater number than in 2010. Teams from Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming were represented at the 2011 Schwan’s USA Cup, along with squads from Bermuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Grand Cayman, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Uganda and Virgin Islands. Additionally, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory were the Canadian provinces represented at the tournament.
See additional photos in the July 27 issue of the Bulletin