On September 21-24, 2017, the eyes of the soccer world will focus on Harrison New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena for the final round of the Danone Nations Cup, the world’s largest international soccer tournament for 10-12 year old athletes. With over 400 participants representing 33 nations, the Danone Nations Cup World Final is the culmination of several months of contests held around the world involving 2.5 million young athletes. This is the tournament’s first visit to the United States in its 18 year history and the first year the tournament is hosting a girls division. It seems only fitting then that this year’s United States ambassador to the Danone Nations Cup is U.S. World Cup Champion, U.S. Olympian, and the #1 all-time leading scorer in international soccer history among both men and women, Abby Wambach.
What may be unknown to many of the competitors and fans is that the Danone Nation’s Cup World Final at Red Bull Arena takes place just 4 miles (6.4 km) from the site of America’s first international soccer game in the neighboring town of Kearney, N.J. What is now vacant property at 900 Passaic Street in Kearney was once home to the Clark Thread Company, a Scottish firm employing immigrant workers from England, Ireland and Scotland who brought the game of soccer with them from their native countries. The Clark Thread Company’s team, the “Clark O.N.T.” (named after one of the company’s products, “Our New Thread”), prevailed in winning the inaugural American Football Association Challenge Cup in 1885 by defeating the New York F.C. It was later that same year, on November 25th 1885, that a Canadian all-star team visiting the U.S. defeated an American team at the Clark Thread Company’s field by a score of 1-0 in what is recorded as the first international soccer game in America. The Canadian team returned the following year and was defeated by the O.N.T. FC by a score of 3-2. It is therefore only fitting that the Danone Nation’s Cup World Final’s first visit to the United States take place in neighborhood that is the birthplace of American soccer. Perhaps we'll see Canada and the U.S.A. face each other once again on this hallowed ground after a 132 year absence.
We are honored to be hosting the 2017 Danone Nations Cup World Final in the New York Metro region which, by the way, is also home to the Danone Corporation’s U.S. headquarters, Danone North America, in nearby White Plains, N.Y.
MetroSports Magazine will bring you coverage of the Danone Nations Cup World Final.
Photo Credit: Lea Forget, Danone.
Photo Courtesy Danone Nations Cup