Sunday, July 13, 2008
World's Largest Soccer Tournament Starts Today
While facts and rumors on the professional transfer season continue to hold the attention of many soccer fans, the world's largest soccer tournament starts today in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The Gothia Cup, a youth tournament, drew 1,551 teams last year with over 33,000 boys and girls in categories from U-12 to U-18, scoring over 22,000 goals. In 1976, the USA took part for the first time with the club Texas Longhorns. Over the years, the USA is the second largest participating country (after Germany).
A number of highly successful players have played in the tournament over the years such as Gothia Cup winners Xabi Alonso (Spain), Adebayor (Togo), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Ze Roberto (Brazil), and Alan Shearer (England). The most successful club team so far has been is the 1984 Tahuichi Academy which saw 8 of its players go on to represent the Bolivian national team at the 1994 World Cup in the USA - a team which included DC United's Marco Etvheverry and Jaime Moreno.
Dozens of American youth clubs are involved in this year's tournament including the Slammers Futbol Club (Newport Beach, CA), Eagle Rays (New Rochelle, NY), Sockers FC (Chicago, IL), Roanoke Stars (Roanoke, VA), and the Boulder County Force (Boulder, CO).
The Gothia Cup runs from July 13th-19th.