While the United States women's national soccer team prepares to play Columbia in the second round on Saturday in the London Olympic games, youth girls' and boys' soccer players from South Dakota, North Dakota and Winnipeg, Canada, will showcase their skills at the Dakota Cup tournament in Aberdeen.
The tournament, which will take place today through Sunday at the Moccasin Creek Soccer Complex, has 55 teams or approximately 600 youth from ages nine to 16. The tourney begins at 5 p.m. today and continues on Saturday and Sunday starting at 8 a.m. Championship games are scheduled for Sunday. Aberdeen will be represented by 15 teams.
The tourney, which has free admission, is sponsored by the Hub City Soccer Club. There has been a soccer club in existence in Aberdeen since 1986, according to Corey Gaulrapp, a board member with the Hub City Club. The current club formed two years ago.
'Prior to that, part of the club was Northern Blast and it had a couple of different names. Now, it's under one umbrella, said Gaulrapp.
Steve Cogley is the executive director of the club.
The Northern Blast soccer club organized an annual summer tournament that was last held four years ago.
The club quit having it. There were conflicts with other tournaments our teams would go to. As the Hub City club formed, one of the priorities was to get a tournament going again. It has been in the planning stages the better part of a year, said Gaulrapp.
Aberdeen soccer officials have been spreading the word about the tournament.
We did some recruiting way back in the spring. We made contact with area clubs. We get familiar with area clubs at the tournaments we go to. We've had it advertised on the club website. We made some phone calls to remind people. We've had a lot of one-on-one contact, said Gaulrapp.
The hopes of soccer officials in Aberdeen are centered on growth both in the tournament and the sport.
The board as a whole would like to grow the tournament, said Gaulrapp. At its peak, the Northern Blast tournament had somewhere around 100 teams. We hope we'd get to that point if not bigger. Soccer is getting stronger and stronger in Aberdeen. We want to spread the word and let them know it's out there.
Here are the teams entered:
UNDER 10 BOYS
Aberdeen HCSC Black
Tea Tempo Cyclones
Aberdeen HCSC The Crew
Sioux Falls DASC Academy Donovan