• Once again, it’s astonishing the number of teams descending on the National Sports Center in Blaine for the USA Cup youth soccer tournament, which begins next Friday. This year, 1,150 teams from 20 countries, 20 states and four Canadian provinces will visit. Until the NSC can build more fields — it has 50, with room for more — the tournament is more or less at capacity.
• It’s rare for local youth teams to win on a national stage, but one local team came close. The Minnesota Thunder Academy U-17 girls’ team lost in the semifinals Friday of the Elite Clubs National League championship, the top level of girls’ youth soccer. Making it to the final four is an outstanding feat.
• Minneapolis City, which plays in the fourth-division, semipro National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), clinched the league’s North Division and with a win or a tie Saturday can finish the regular season unbeaten. The sprawling NPSL has nearly 100 teams, but Minneapolis City appears to be one of the best.