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Support youth athletes at 2014 KICS International Youth Cup in Chicago

A soccer ball sits in the grass during a game.
A soccer ball sits in the grass during a game.
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Football or futbol, Chicago supports it all. Some may remember when Wrigley Field converted into a soccer field in 2012. For those who missed out, not to worry. There's more soccer fun, just in a smaller package. KICS International Youth Cup has soccer playoffs from Saturday, July 19 to Saturday, July 26.

Boys ages 9 to 16 and girls ages 10 to 14 compete at two locations in either Dunbar Park at 300 E. 31st St., or Lake Meadows Park at 3117 S. Rhodes Ave., at various times all week.

"This event is on the tail end of the World Cup that just ended in Brazil," Peter Glon, Director of Operations for Chicago KICS International Youth Cup tournament, said. "This is a first-year tournament. We have 60 teams. It's a great international event to see youth playing soccer."

Youth soccer players come from around the world, including Addis Abada (Ethiopia), Beijing (China), Boca Costa (Guatemala), Como (Italy), Guaynabo (Puerto Rico) and Colombia. American team members are from various cities in Illinois and Indiana.

"Our goal is to bring the youth in the world to Chicago to speak to each other," said Glon. "If there is a cultural aspect to the world, sport would be that culture. If that sport had any sort of a common language, soccer would be that common language."

The opening ceremony was held on Sat., July 19, at Millennium Park and included live performances from the Soul Children of Chicago and blues artist Fernando Jones Blues Trio.

"Soul Children of Chicago made the whole place rock," said Glen. "It was incredible. Fernando Jones, I love the blues so I thought he did a phenomenal job. I don't know how that went well with all the youth that probably have not heard of Fernando Jones and the blues, but he did get them going. It was a tremendous event. It's like opening ceremonies at the Olympics where everybody gets to meet each other and have a lot of cross-cultural dialogue.

Downtown shoppers were encouraged to join parents and friends on sports bleachers while everyone cheered on the young athletes.

"We ended up watching this performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion [and saw the] Soul Children of Chicago," said Gwen V., a passerby walking from the Magnificent Mile. "It was great. These young people need to be supported."

For attendees who've missed the first few games, there are still four days left.

Click here for the KICS International Youth Cup times, dates and locations for remaining events.

Chicagoans, Michigan residents and tourists may also want to mark their calendars for Aug. 2. The United States' largest ever recorded crowd of 110,000 will head to Michigan Stadium at 1201 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, Mich., to see Real Madrid Club de Futbol (more popularly known as Real Madrid) soccer team take on Manchester United.

Additional notes: The Chicago News & Events Examiner confirmed at noon today that the Wed., July 23 event with Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been canceled.

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