Despite many events being cancelled this summer due the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase will be played.
The event, which features boys and girls games, will be played Sunday, Aug. 2 at Bradner Stadium in Olean, N.Y., after the City of Olean approved the organization’s request to use the stadium for this year’s Showcase. The boys game is set for 4 p.m. and the girls contest at 7 p.m.
The Showcase, which had to be postponed in May because of COVID-19, is different from most high school “All-Star” events. “All-Star” games are reserved for current seniors and typically happen at some point after the high school season is over for that particular sport.
However, the Showcase is different and can feature players from all varsity grades (9-12) under PIAA rules because interested players go through a three-part tryout process to be selected for the game and also do not directly represent their school or wear any school-issued uniform or apparel.
Now in its fourth year, the Showcase — which features a boys and girls game — pits players from New York and Pennsylvania against each other annually as a way to showcase some of the top talent on the soccer field from both states.
The decision to play comes after the Big 30 Charities Classic, an All-Star football game played in Bradford pitting recently graduated high seniors from Pennsylvania and New York against each other, was canceled in late June because of the pandemic. The Big 30 Game had been played every year since its inception in 1974.
“I know the question of how are we able to play and the Big 30 football game is canceled will come up,” said Showcase organizer Kris Linderman. “Soccer has been declared a moderate sport, and football has been declared a high-risk sport.
“We are very excited to be able to hold this event this year and do so in a safe environment which conforms to applicable restrictions and standards. The players are excited to play as well.”
All COVID-19 guidelines for sports and recreationwill be followed. Those include:
• Effective July 6th, return to play rules regarding the sport of soccer apply. Soccer has been declared a moderate risk sport and therefore play can resume.
• Crowd restrictions will apply. At the current time, players can bring two 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 6six feet to any person.
• Physical distancing will apply for everyone not including the players.
• There will be one entrance 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 (prior to 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 Department of Health 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.
The Tri-County Area will be well-represented on both Pennsylvania teams if all players selected are still able to attend with the games moved to a later date.
On the boys side, Pennsylvania will be looking for its first win in the event this year, as New York won the inaugural game 1-0, following with a 2-1 win in 2018 and a 4-2 victory last year.
The Pennsylvania girls squad will be looking for back-to-back wins, as it won 1-0 last year after suffering a 4-1 loss in 2018. There was no girls game the initial year in 2017.
On the boys’ side, Elk County Catholic’s T.J. Weaver, who will head the boys squad. Weaver will also have area coaches Matt Erickson (DuBois), Phil Esposito (DuBois Central Catholic) and Alex O’Neill (Elk County Catholic) as assistant coaches.
Area players on the boys squad include DuBois senior Zach Farrell and junior Justin Kalgren and Brockway junior Noah Bash and sophomore Jared Marchiori.
St. Marys junior Vinicius Nunes will be making his second-straight appearance in the Showcase, while senior Clayton Zilkofski rounds out the area contingent.
As for the PA girls squad, Brockway’s Dave Britten and St. Marys’ Sam Zimmerman will each serve as assistants to head coach Warren Shaw of Bradford.
Four area girls will be making their third appearance in as many Corporate Cup games in St. Marys’ seniors Lauren Ekcert and Kaylee Muccio and junior Kyla Johnson and Elk County Catholic senior Olivia Sorg. Senior Britney Shaw will be the fourth Lady Dutch player to represent the area in the game.
Sorg was named the Pennsylvania MVP for the Corporate Cup game in 2018, while Eckert scored the lone goal in a 4-1 defeat.
Brockway has has one player in the Showcase in senior Chanell Britten, who is also representing PA for the second year in a row after scoring the lone goal in last year’s victory.
DuBois has three representatives in freshman Mariah Allen and sophomores Stefanie Hoyt and Rylee Wadding, who are both also making a second straight appearance.