Youth soccer: Cottage Grove on top of the worldThe Cottage Grove United 15-year-old girls were the only area team to win a championship at the Schwan’s Cup this year. In all, Minnesota teams won 11 of the 14 top-level championship divisions.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
Twenty-five teams from the Woodbury, East Ridge and Cottage Grove athletic associations competed in the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere — the Schwan’s USA CUP youth soccer tournament, held July 15-23, at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
In the week-long tournament, the Cottage Grove United 15-year-old girls team won the championship of the top flight, the “A” Gold flight, beating the Prior Lake Storm 2-1 in the finals.
The Cottage Grove United 15-year-old girls were the only area team to win a championship at the Schwan’s Cup this year. In all, Minnesota teams won 11 of the 14 top-level championship divisions — the home state’s best showing in years. Last year, Minnesota teams won only five top-tier championships. Visiting teams from Canada, Denmark and Nebraska also won titles this year.
In the 15-year-old girls championship game, Anna Keys scored the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute and Cottage Grove held on for the win.
After a scoreless first half, Prior Lake got on the board first, making it 1-0 in the 36th minute of play. However, Cottage Grove’s Temi Ogunrinde tied the score 1-1 in the 39th minute, setting the stage for Keys to deliver the win 13 minutes later.
To reach the championship, Cottage Grove beat the NW Kickers 5-0 in the first round, Dakota Rev 6-1 in the second round on the Rebels SC 3-0 in the semifinals.
This year, 936 teams took part in the week and weekend tournament, a greater number than in 2010. Teams from Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming were represented at the 2011 Schwan’s USA CUP, along with squads from Bermuda, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Grand Cayman, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Uganda and Virgin Islands. Additionally, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory are the Canadian provinces represented at the tournament.
In the 27th-annual event, 15 teams competed in the weeklong USA Cup — nine from Woodbury, three from East Ridge and three from Cottage Grove. Ten teams took part in the weekend tournament — eight from Woodbury, one from East Ridge and one from Cottage Grove.
At the Schwan’s USA Cup, teams can qualify for different playoffs based on their finishes in group games.
In addition to the Cottage Grove United, in the week-long tournament, the Cottage Grove Joga boys 17-year-old team reached the “A” Gold flight playoffs, but fell 3-1 to Universidad La Sall of Mexico in the first round.
In the weekend tournament, the East Ridge Raptors 11-year-old girls team made it to the “B” flight tournament semifinals before losing 4-1 to WSEU. Beat West Fargo Bombers 3-0 in the opening round and the Cottage Grove United 13-year-old boys reached the “A” flight tournament semifinals, beating the Eau Claire Beasts 1-0 in the first round, before falling 3-0 to MTA 98 White.