Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3rd Friendship Cup to Draw Nation's Best

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3rd Friendship Cup to Draw Nation's Best

Article excerpt

In 1992, the St. Louis Girls Friendship Cup was just an idea, a concept for the betterment of girls soccer in the area. Now it's one of the most unique and successful girls soccer tournaments in the nation.

The third annual Friendship Cup will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Mueller Soccer Complex in St. Charles.

"There's still a lot of work to do between now and then, but we're excited," said tournament director Randy Dawson of the Wings Soccer Club. "Once again, we're bringing in some top-quality teams and we're expecting some great soccer."

Added Wings' president Jim Heck: "Our goal each year is to make the tournament a little better than the year before. Something like this requires a lot of hard work - I couldn't begin to estimate how many hours - and we're fortunate to have a lot of great people in our organization. You don't put on an event like this without the support of a lot of people."

The tournament, hosted by the Wings, is unique in its club vs. club format. Each soccer club is required to bring seven teams (under-11 through under-17), with each team working to accumulate points for its club.

The Cardinals of Cincinnati have won the first two Friendship Cup titles.

"The format of this tournament is unlike anything we've experienced," Cardinals president Tim Holly said. "It's a dynamic idea and our people really enjoy it. Most of the time, each of our teams heads in a different direction to find good competition. But this tournament gives us an opportunity for all seven of our teams to compete as a club at the same site."

But the real drawing card to the Friendship Cup is the competition.

"Where else can you go and be guaranteed six games against some of the finest competition in the nation?" Holly said. "We're a club that travels a great deal and we're always looking to find top competition; the only way to improve at soccer is to test yourself against the best. And this tournament certainly provides our teams with some excellent competition.

"Our players love it because of the competition and this is one of those tournaments that really seem to get the parents excited, too."

Providing top-level competition has always been the primary goal of the Friendship Cup.

"We wanted to find a way to bring in top teams from other parts of the country and to keep the top teams from St. Louis in town," Dawson said. "And we found the best way to do that was to bring them all together. Top teams from around the nation want to play other top teams, and our tournament provides them with that opportunity.

"We really have some outstanding teams coming in for this event."

This year's tournament field figures to be the strongest ever. It includes the Wings, the Cardinals, the Tophat Soccer Club of Atlanta, the Lakewood Fury Soccer Club of Colorado and the Michigan Hawks, as well as St. …

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