More than a thousand teams from 17 states and 17 countries will converge on Blaine, Minn., this week for the annual Schwan's USA Cup youth soccer tournament.
After a shorter weekend competition last Friday through Sunday, games in the weeklong tournament begin today.
This evening all the teams will parade in the National Sports Center stadium in an Olympics-style opening ceremony. The competition features teams ranging from ages nine to 19, and organizers say the opportunity to play teams from around the world is hugely important, even to elite teams from the U.S.
This is the 29th year of the tournament, which is by far the largest such event in the Western hemisphere. Many current coaches have played at the USA Cup in the past.