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      Governor Dayton Opens Schwan’s USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament

      Posted on July 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Governor Dayton shaking the hand of Norwegian soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft

      Governor Dayton shaking the hand of Norwegian Soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft

      Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the National Sports Center in Blaine to provide the welcoming remarks and participate in the Handshake for Peace with Norwegian Soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft for the opening ceremony of the Schwan’s USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament. 

      This year, Schwan’s USA Cup is celebrating its 30th anniversary—marking three decades of bringing youth soccer players from around the world for competition and fellowship. Over the years, the Schwan’s USA Cup has become one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the western hemisphere, with 1,060 teams presenting 15,000 athletes from 21 states and 19 countries participating. 

      The National Sports Center already attracts 4 million visitors each year—more than any other sports facility in Minnesota. It is currently the largest soccer complex in the world. To help ensure that Blaine remains a center for youth athletics and the home of this remarkable tournament, the 2014 Jobs Bill signed by Governor Dayton included funding for the National Sports Center. The new resources will be used to acquire land and develop at least 20 tournament athletic fields for soccer, lacrosse, and rugby. 

      More on the Handshake for Peace
      The Handshake for Peace was created by the Norwegian Football Association and the Nobel Peace Center in 2012. The handshake occurs at the beginning of each game before or after a match as a symbol of friendship, respect, fair play, and good sportsmanship. It has since been adopted by FIFA and will make its debut in the United States at the Schwan’s USA Cup.