Corporate Cup all-star soccer games to be held Aug. 2

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The 2020 NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase will be played Sunday, Aug. 2 at Bradner Stadium in Olean, New York. The contest pits the best Big 30 area soccer players from New York against Pennsylvania. It was to be played Sunday, May 17 at the University of Pitt-Bradford but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made Wednesday.

Since the initial cancelation was announced in April co-organizers Kris Linderman and Dave Talbot of the Olean Soccer Club continued to hold out hope the game would be played.

The 47th Annual Big 30 Charities Classic PA-NY all-star football game was canceled due to the pandemic. In his release, Linderman noted soccer was deemed a moderate risk sport while football is considered high risk.

All guidelines for sports and recreation during the Covid-19 public health emergency will be followed for the games.

Elk County Catholic senior Olivia Sorg, Kane senior Victoria Hallberg (2nd alternate), St. Marys’ seniors Lauren Eckert, Kaylee Muccio, Britney Shaw, and junior Kayla Johnson will all be making a second straight appearance. Teams consist of 22 players and two alternates. Johnsonburg senior Clay Zilkofski was selected as the first alternate despite Ridgway (co-op) not fielding a team in the fall. Kane senior Mason Feikles, and St. Marys junior Vanicius Nunes will be making a second-straight appearance. This will be the fourth all-star game for the boys and third for the girls.

“Those were the exact words I was going to use,” Linderman said when asked how it felt knowing perseverance paid off. “Here’s the thing. We always tell these kids to never give up. We always say play until the end of the game and never stop until the game is over. I kind of think it’s kind of the same idea for us. We knew the window of opportunity was still there. We knew things were getting better. We were hopeful but at the same time, we knew it might not happen. July 6 came along and soccer was declared a moderate sport and things fell into place at that point,” he added in a phone interview last evening.

According to the email, the following precautions will apply for the game.

-Crowd restrictions will apply. Currently, players can bring 2 spectators with them (this may increase between now and the game date).

-Spectators, coaches, and anyone other than the players will be required to wear a face-covering/mask when closer than 6 feet to any person.

-Physical distancing will apply for everyone not including the players.

-There will be one entry point and one exit point for spectators and players at the stadium

-Players will come dressed to play. NO use of locker rooms will take place.

-Players will have separate water bottles. No central drinking location will be allowed.

-Players will have a designated area for their bags and at that location, proper spacing of bags will take place.

-If anyone's temperature is above 100.4 degrees (before coming) or if you exhibit symptoms such as fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, DO NOT come!

-There will not be a concession stand but rather a food truck will be located in the parking lot and proper social distancing must be followed at that location.

-Signage will be posted consistent with DOH Covid-19 signage.

-Proper social distancing will be followed for players on the bench when not in the game.

-Disposable face masks, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer or other cleaners will be made available at all times for those that want or need them.

Linderman noted other restrictions will apply but he wanted to list many of them so people get an idea of what is expected and what must be followed.

Players and coaches were informed of the game date Tuesday evening. “The kids are elated. They’re super excited. We’re excited. I told them all along to practice on their own and to always be prepared in case we were able to move on with the games,” Linderman said. “Maybe it’s a good learning exercise for them to never quit,” he added.

Unlike other all-star games that include just seniors, the Soccer Showcase games include underclassman. Pennsylvania girls won last year’s game 1-0. New York won in 2018. The NY boys have won the first three of their games.

With UPB not being an option, Linderman is glad to see the game return to his hometown. “One thing I think is cool is the game is coming back to New York for the first time in three years. I’m excited for the City of Olean. There really isn’t an event like this here. Bradford has the Big 30 game. Olean never had anything like that so maybe this is the start of something,” he said.

Elk County Catholic Head coach TJ Weaver will guide the PA boys. He will be joined by ECC assistant Alex O’Neil, Jack Darling of Warren, Aaron Clark of Port Allegany-Smethport, Phil Esposito of Brockway, and Warren’s Denny Flatt. The girls' team will be led by Bradford Head coach Warren Shaw. His staff includes Samantha Zimmerman of St. Marys, Bradford assistants Jim Warnick and A.J. Lucas, and David Britten of Brockway, and Jeremy Bickling of Warren.

The boys will kick off at 4 p.m. and the girls at 7 p.m.

You can stay up-to-date on the games and events on the Facebook page – Mazza-the-Corporate Cup.