The soccer community in Minnesota is well aware of the size of Schwan's USA CUP up here at the National Sports Center. That event is the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere. But quietly the NSC Fall Cup in October has become a pretty big deal as well.
Started seven years ago as way to fill the a lag in the tournament calendar, the NSC Fall Cup has grown to 280 teams, making it the biggest non-USA CUP tournament at the National Sports Center. What's even more remarkable about the growth is that the event is for younger age groups only, U9-U14 because the high school soccer season is in the fall in Minnesota.
"We felt when we started the event in 2005 that there was really just nothing around the soccer landscape in the fall for clubs who wanted to particpate in a tournament," says tournament director Jen Een. "Now we've found lots of clubs from Wisconsin, Iowa, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay who make the trip to Blaine."
As with all our tournaments, even with more competition from newer fall events, the Fall Cup leads the way because of location. "People like the fact they can play all their games in one place," says Een. "They also like the fact they will see teams they don’t normally play in their league play. With the number of teams and games compressed into two days the atmosphere is really electric."
So what started as a way to simply fill the calendar has become a "must attend" fall event. "I don't think any of us anticipated that this tournament would grow this fast this soon," remarked Een. "But the good news is that the National Sports Center campus allows growth much easier than most facilities!"
Tag(s): NSC Blog