By Greg Klein THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
---- — The World Cup begins today, and that won’t come as a surprise to many kids who play in the Cooperstown Soccer Club.
The players have been sporting World Cup jerseys all season, thanks to a suggestion by the league’s shirt supplier, Challenger Teamwear, according to CSC Equipment Coordinator John Hodgson.
The CSC includes teams from Cooperstown, Cherry Valley and Edmeston in boys, girls and co-ed leagues for kids from kindergarten through 6th grade.
Hodgson said that about 20 of the 32 World Cup countries are represented in the CSC this season. All of the jerseys have a country’s name on them and uses real team colors. Teams from six continents are represented including Ghana, England, Brazil, China and Australia.
Some countries, such as the United States, are represented twice in the league. A Cooperstown kindergarten team got the coveted USA blue jerseys. A team in the Girls A divison (4th, 5th and 6th graders) from Cooperstown got the USA home jerseys.
Hodgson said that he thinks the uniforms have helped the players become aware of the World Cup tournament in Brazil. As an added bonus it has given the teams nicknames to aid in cheering.
“It gives the kids a bit more to work with when they ask ‘who are we playing this weekend,’ and it sounds better when you cheer the opposing team’s country other than ‘yeah, team 41’ or ‘yeah, blue!’” he said.
“Some players on our team have taken it to the next level with, ‘we’re Ghana,’ as in, ‘we’re Ghana beat South Africa,’” he continued.
Hodgson said that Challenger Teamwear has indicated that the international jerseys will be available again, and that he’d like to continue ordering the jerseys if the CSC board approves it.
“I think it’s pretty cool, we’ll probably end up doing something similar for future seasons.” he said.
The World Cup begins today with host Brazil playing Croatia. The United States plays its first match on Monday against Ghana. The championship will be held on July 13.