Tremendous energy helps electrify magical USA CUP opening ceremony

Through the weekend and opening day of the 29th annual Schwan’s USA CUP the competition has been fierce. Conditions have been seasonably warm with an equally strong passion from the global soccer community.

Members of ACE Soccer Club, Kenosha, Wis. find some relief in the form of water before heading into the National Sports Center stadium for the opening ceremonies July 16. Photo by Jason Olson

Members of ACE Soccer Club, Kenosha, Wis. find some relief in the form of water before heading into the National Sports Center stadium for the opening ceremonies July 16. Photo by Jason Olson

Tuesday evening was the Olympic-style opening ceremonies, featuring the parade of teams dressed in everything from uniforms, national flags, traditional clothes and, of course, special Schwan’s sunglasses.

Members of the North Suburban Soccer Association, NSSA U19 Pheonix, gathered around their teammate, Kyle O’Connor, in their pink jerseys as he took the final torch hand-off before lighting the cauldron. O’Connor’s mother recently lost a lengthy battle with cancer and the team wore pink all season to show their support for him and his family. The procession included nine torch bearers including O’Connor.

Rock the CUP followed the cauldron lighting ceremony as Jeremiah James Korfe led the crowd in a rousing concert on the field to conclude the evening.

New this season, a medallion hunt was underway offering a different clue each day. The prize for finding the golden medallion is an iPad.

Jason Olson is at jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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