As we count down the (few) days left to Target USA CUP, we find ourselves reminiscing on the many memories over the years. While the tournament is an exciting and unique experience to take part in, Target USA CUP provides an experience that reaches beyond the field and “beyond the bench,” so to speak. USA CUP fosters more than just game play. It can spark relationships that truly last a lifetime.
An example of these relationships can be seen through the story of Kelly Schaepkens and Nico Moreno. After meeting at USA CUP in 2009, their relationship has continued to grow to where they are today — engaged!
Kelly was kind enough to share her memory of their time together at USA CUP:
“Nico and I met at the opening ceremonies of USA Cup in 2009 when we were 14 years old. We distinctly remember being able to walk around the field (wearing our local garb) and approaching each other to exchange our team pins. Before we knew it, each of our teams were chatting with each other, taking pictures, exchanging social media profiles, and phone numbers. Throughout the week we attended each other’s games, MN Thunder game, and spent time walking around the grounds with our new group of friends. My teammates and I tried to convince them to go to the USA cup dance, but did not succeed.
After the end of the tournament, we all kept in touch via social media. His team never returned to USA Cup, but each year we would connect about how much they were missed. Flashing forward to 2018, I found myself in Kansas City completing medical school when I received a message from a familiar name- “Nico USA Cup xD” as the name was listed in my phone from all those years ago. He was congratulating me on my schooling and even gave me a nice compliment from a recent post. We started chatting, found out we would be in the same area, and decided to catch up over dinner.
3 years later – we got engaged!
We often look back on the pictures from the 2009 USA Cup, the USA Cup Newspaper, and the pins we exchanged – having a hard time believing this is where we are now. It goes to show how important the connections you make when you’re young can be and how love always finds a way.
We still play soccer often and are planning to join an adult league in our new city. One day we plan to be a “soccer family” and hopefully raise a family that is just as in love with the sport as we are.
Nico and I are so grateful for USA Cup and the connection we made, otherwise we would not be where we are today.”