20 countries, 22 states and five Canadian provinces will be represented
Blaine, Minn. (July 2, 2019) – It’s just 10 days until kick off and the numbers are in. The 35th annual Target USA CUP youth soccer tournament at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, Minn., will feature 1,152 teams. The tournament, July 12-20, will attract teams from 20 different countries, 22 states, and five Canadian provinces.
The tournament is the largest soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere. This year’s total is the third largest in the history of the tournament. This high mark was set in 2016, with 1,178 teams, and this year’s total is just 26 teams shy of that.
“There are a lot of variables involved in setting our upper limit of teams we can accept,” said Tournament Director Jen Een. “The biggest is the number of fields we have available, and we are right at the upper limit of team capacity for our campus.”
“Notable this year is that for the first time we will have a girls’ team from Liberia,” said Aaron Schmidt, USA CUP recruiting director. “In fact, the Monrovia Football Academy team will be the first female soccer team ever to travel outside of their country.”
In addition to the teams, Target USA CUP attracts a diverse corps of referees. This year 482 referees will work the tournament, representing 16 different countries.
Target USA CUP is held on the campus of the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, Minn. The tournament is unique as the only tournament of its size in the world that holds all its games on a single contiguous campus. The 600-acre sports campus will offer 50 full-sized soccer fields. In addition to soccer fields, the NSC boasts a 5,500 seat stadium, an eight-sheet ice arena, an 18-hole golf course, and a cycling velodrome. Target USA CUP is the facility’s flagship event, its largest and most diverse.
As the new title sponsor, Target will have a major presence at the 2019 tournament. The Target USA CUP Village will offer a number of activities throughout the week, including a 360-degree award stage, Bullseye meet-and-greets, free massages, FIFA 2019 gaming stations, the Target Boombox with a DJ, and a lounge seating area with family games. Target will also partner with Minnesota Nice Cream, a top food truck in Minneapolis, to bring their delicious ice cream to the USA CUP Village on July 17-19.
Other off-the-field activities will include an Olympic-style opening ceremony on July 16, daily video features, an online newspaper, live webcasting of selected games, social and educational activities for the players and their families, and tours to Twin Cities’ tourist destinations.
Minnesota United FC, who have their training ground at the National Sports Center and is a presenting sponsor of the tournament, will have a major presence at the tournament. The team will have an activity hub on campus, players will be doing autograph sessions, and the team’s mascot, PK, will be interacting with the USA CUP players throughout the week.
MNUFC will play two home matches during Target USA CUP at Allianz Field — Saturday, July 13 vs. FC Dallas and Wednesday, July 17 vs. the English Premier League side Aston Villa.
Here is the breakdown of where the registered teams and referees are coming from:
Country breakdown (20): Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Haiti, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S.
Canada provinces sending teams (5): Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
U.S. states sending teams (22): Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Rhode Island and Maine represent the 49th and 50th states that have participated in USA CUP over the years.
Referees coming from the following countries (16): Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Sweden, and the U.S.
Other notable facts about Target USA CUP 2019:
- Which team will travel the farthest to get to Target USA CUP? It’s the 12 year-old boys’ team from Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. They will travel 13,770 kilometers, or 8,537 miles.
- Target is bringing retired soccer start Jimmy Conrad to the tournament. Conrad has earned 27 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2005-2010 and played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. During his 13-year MLS career (1998-2011,) Conrad was four-time MLS Best XI, and was the 2005 MLS Defender of the year.
- Two current players on the Minnesota United FC roster played in Target USA CUP as youth players – Eric Miller and Brent Kallman. Interestingly, both hail from Woodbury, Minnesota and played for the same club, Woodbury Youth Soccer. MNUFC’s Sporting Director, Manny Lagos, is also a USA CUP alum. Lagos played for the St. Paul Blackhawks in the inaugural Sons of Norway USA CUP in 1985.
- Nine current Women’s World Cup players have played at the National Sports Center: Aya Sameshima (Japan), Saki Kumagai (Japan), Nana Ichise (Japan), Rikako Kobayashi (Japan), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Caroline Seger (Sweden), Nilla Fischer (Sweden), Carli Lloyd (USA) and Lisa De Vanna (Australia) have all played at the NSC at various times over the years. Sameshima, Kumagai, Ichise and Kobayashi played in USA CUP, representing the Tokiwagi Gakuen H.S. Team from Sendai, Japan. The other players played for their national teams in matches against the USA Women’s National Team between 2001 and 2006.