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Facing the heat - International teams adjust to play through the unpredictable Minnesota weather

07/20/2011, 5:42pm CDT
By Karly Wallack

This year Schwan's USA CUP, presented by PUMA, has brought with a variety of weather conditions, including everything from heat and humidity to severe storms and lightning delays. The ever-changing Minnesota weather can at times be unpredictable and teams must learn to adjust to the conditions facing them throughout the tournament. With an unusual amount of weather concerns this year has been even more of a challenge for the incoming teams as they've played on through the diverse conditions of each day. 

Member of the U14 Puerto Rico team Eric Rios watches a game from the sidelines

The Minnesota weather can be viewed in vastly different ways by international teams depending on where in the world they are coming from. For the U14 boys team from Puerto Rico the heat doesn't seem to be an issue, and with favorable conditions the players are able to perform at their best level throughout the tournament.

"The weather is actually colder here," said Puerto Rican player Jose Cabello. "We're used to playing in like 100 degrees so the day that they cancelled because of the heat wave we were perfectly fine."

Not only are the Puerto Rican players accustomed to the extreme heat, but the weather conditions are favorable for the team as well. The boys are used to playing through the warmer conditions, and this weather doesn't seem to faze them.

Member of the U14 Puerto Rico team Eric Rios watches a game from the sidelines in the heat and humidity. Rios is used to playing in the extreme weather.
Photo credit: Kyle Hanson.
"It's easier to play here because it's really cool and we don't get tired," said player Eric Rios. "We can play a whole game without getting tired."

Without tiring and being used to all of the humidity, the only things that seemed to bother the Puerto Rican players were the incoming storms. The weather is unusual for the team to see and getting a glimpse at the incoming clouds the players didn't quite know what to think. "We're scared of the tornados, said Anthony Perez. "Last year we were caught in the middle of one while I was here."

Unlike the Puerto Ricans, the conditions throughout the USA Cup have been perceived as much less promising for the U16 girls coming from Yukon, Canada. The hot weather and striking humidity has not gone unnoticed by the Yukon players, and its taken time for the team to adjust and get ready for play. It's been a new experience for them to deal with the stormy weather, and although the team hasn't had the chance to play yet their concern about the incoming games in the heat is unquestionably present.

"It's way more humid and the heat is so much higher here," said Yukon player Brittany Milner. "You get tired way faster and sweaty even from just walking."

Another team that's been sweating out the tournament is the U14 Devonshire Colts from Bermuda. Facing generally cooler weather throughout the majority of their soccer season the team isn't used to this kind of heat. Coming into the tournament the boys have had to make adjustments to their style of play. The team is practicing more often and making sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the tournament.

Other than the intense heat, the rain and storms haven't caused many issues for the Bermuda boys. The team is used to seeing the storms, and they've faced plenty of severe weather conditions, including hurricanes. Playing through the weather here has had its challenges, but the team is working hard and getting through it.

Similar to the Bermuda team, the U12 Columbian boys are struggling with the heat. After arriving in Minnesota the players have been working hard while trying to keep cool throughout the duration of the tournament. "In Bogota, Columbia it's pretty cold," said player Sam Cardona. "It's not as hot in Bogota but we're getting used to the weather here." 

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Tag(s): July 20, 2011