This summer, soccer teams from 32 countries will descend on Germany to participate in the world's most popular sporting event - the World Cup.
A youth World Cup will be held at about the same time. The Norway Cup, July 30 to Aug. 5 in Oslo, attracts thousands of players and teams from all over the Earth.
The 33rd annual Norway Cup will also include a team from Juneau.
The Juneau Reign, an under-16 boys team from the Juneau Soccer Club, is raising money to participate in the Norway Cup and the Dana Cup, a youth tournament in Hjorring, Denmark.
"I thought what a great cultural, educational experience for the kids to go abroad and travel," Reign coach Doug Badilla said. "Soccer is the national sport in Norway and Denmark."
A chance meeting between Badilla and his mailbox made the trip a possibility. Badilla received a catalog last summer from Eurotech, a company which specializes in placing youth teams in international competitions.
for more on norway cup, check out http://www.norway-cup.no/uk/ and for the juneau soccer club, check out http://www.juneausoccer.org
"I was a kid playing youth soccer, and I remember an older team that I knew went to Italy and Germany and did a tour," Badilla said. "That's something I've always wanted to do and do as a team. I didn't know how to go about it, then I saw this catalogue and though, 'This is it.'"
After doing some reference checking and research on the company and tournaments, Badilla decided to take the plunge and sign the Reign up for a Scandinavian soccer tour.
The Reign, like the majority of teams playing with the Juneau Soccer Club, are a competitive soccer team that participates in a couple tournaments a year.
In 2003, the Reign captured the Alaska State Cup and competed in the Far West Regional Tournament in Spokane, Wash.
Last year the team competed in the Corvallis Cup in Oregon and the Diadora Cup in Seattle.
The Juneau Soccer Club has been very competitive in state competitions. The boys U-14 Juneau Jambaars won the Alaska State Cup in 2005. The girls' U-16 Juneau Xtratuffs and boys' U-16 Juneau Riptide each took second place at the state competition.
The club has teams ranging from under-11 to under-18 squads for boys and girls. It also hosts skills clinics, goalkeeping clinics and advanced training programs.
"It's definitely growing," Badilla said of the JSC. "We've been very competitive state-wide and it seems like every year we've had some really good teams that have taken state cups and have gone to regionals. Juneau, comparatively state-wide, is up there with all the other state teams. The club has been really good."
Last year's Norway Cup featured teams from 45 countries. Clubs from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America competed, according to the tournament's Web site.
The Reign needs to raise about $3,100 per player on the 14-person team to fit the costs.
The team recently received a $1,000 donation from the Sons of Norway, Svalbard Lodge of Juneau. The Reign are also selling soccer sweatshirts, socks and umbrellas to help with the effort.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org