Reporting Aristea Brady
BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) – The National Sports Center in Blaine is one of the busiest spots in the state this time of year.
More than 900 youth soccer teams from around the world are in town for the Schwan’s USA Cup, but on Tuesday, Mother Nature had other ideas.
Severe weather ripped through the area in the early afternoon hours, forcing tournament officials to call games off at one point. The tournament started on Saturday, and ever since, players have seen all kinds of wacky weather.
It’s been hot and humid, and dark and damp. Tuesday’s storm created about a two hour delay before they cleared teams to come back and resume games.
WCCO-TV had a crew at the tournament when the storms hit, but from looking at the players you would’ve never known threatening weather was in the area.
It was a storm that not even the best huddle or plan could beat.
“We got to keep our defense still very strong,” one coach told their team. “We got to tell Brooke not to be afraid of the water, and the goal.”
Players at the tournament said it got really dark outside, then came the big clouds and hail. It rained so hard that there was open water on several fields. Puddles on the field means no soccer.
Dalton Evertz and his all-start team are in charge of clearing those puddles so games can resume.
“It’s the best we can do, just brooms and a squeejee,” Evertz said. “We got to take all this water and move it so the fields are playable.”
Some of the younger players weren’t as concerned about playing against competition. They used the storms as a chance to play in the rain, even blow bubbles on soccer fields that turned into swimming pools. As much has two inches of rain fell in less than an hour in some communities during the storm.
The two hour delay caused a lot of the game times to move around.