Wescott to host soccer classic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2000

The first Minnesota Thunder Soccer Classic will be at Wescott Field in Austin on Friday.

Thursday, June 08, 2000

The first Minnesota Thunder Soccer Classic will be at Wescott Field in Austin on Friday.

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Activities for the Thunder Classic will include a free youth soccer clinic and an exhibition game between the 1999 A-league champion Minnesota Thunder professional soccer club and the Minnesota State Select Team. The event is being brought to Austin by Hormel Foods Corp. in cooperation with TV Guide Magazine Group in New York City. The Thunder Classic is free and open to the public.

Registration for the youth clinic begins at 4:30 p.m. at Wescott Field with sessions to get under way at 5 p.m. Players from the Minnesota Thunder and the Select Team will provide instruction to clinic participants on passing, kicking, shooting and heading, concluding with mini-scrimmages.

Each participant in the free clinic must bring a soccer ball and submit a registration/waiver form signed by a parent or guardian. A souvenir mini-soccer ball will be given to all youth taking part in the clinic.

The exhibition game between the Minnesota Thunder and the Minnesota State Select Team, an all-star team comprised primarily of college players, will get under way at Wescott at 6:30 p.m. Special contests will be held at halftime. At the conclusion of the game at about 8 p.m., members of the Minnesota Thunder team will be available to sign autographs until 8:20 p.m.

Thor, the Minnesota Thunder mascot, will be at the event, along with costumed characters representing various world-famous Hormel Foods consumer-branded products. Minnesota Thunder merchandise will be sold and information about soccer camps organized by the team will be available.

The Minnesota Thunder ended its 10th season in 1999 with its first championship professional soccer title in the A-league. The Thunder has played in four national finals in the past six seasons.

The 21-player Thunder roster includes John Swallen, the A-league’s Most Valuable Player in 1999, who is one of two original members of the team since its inception in 1990. Another player is Mark Abboud, a former standout at Macalester College in St. Paul and Mayo High School in Rochester.

Information about the Thunder Classic and registration forms for the free youth clinic are available at the YMCA, the city Park and Recreation Department and soccer clubs, or by calling Len Schulke at Hormel Foods in Austin at 437-5448.