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The Soccer Tournament: Which team will take home $1 million?



Ramone Palmer of the KC Comets is of many players with KC connections | Credit: Thad Bell

A variety of soccer personalities will showcase their playing abilities in The Soccer Tournament’s inaugural competition from June 1-4. Here is everything you need to know about the $1 million soccer tournament in Cary, North Carolina.

What is The Soccer Tournament?

The Soccer Tournament is a 7 v 7 soccer tournament consisting of 32 teams competing to win the $1 million prize at the conclusion of the tournament while the remaining 31 teams leave empty-handed. The tournament will take place at WakeMed Soccer Park, home of NWSL’s North Carolina Courage and USL League One’s North Carolina FC in Cary, North Carolina. The complex will be split into six fields, two on the stadium field and the other four fields on the practice field next to the stadium.

The tournament is a soccer adaptation to The Basketball Tournament’s success, making this TBT Enterprises’ first non-basketball event. The Basketball Tournament’s inaugural event took place in Boston with a similar 32-team setup in 2014 with the winning team taking home $500,000. TBT has since expanded to 64 teams and increased its prize to $1 million in a tournament with numerous sites across the span of several weeks.

Who is playing in TST?

The competition was open for anyone to apply, but the 275 applications were narrowed down to 32 final teams selected. The teams selected vary from professional clubs like Borussia Dortmund, West Ham and Wrexham to other communities of soccer.

As Jimmy Conrad shared last week with KC Soccer Journal, he teamed up with Demarcus Beasley to form Conrad & Beasley United. Other players consist of current and former professional outdoor players highlighted by Cesc Fabregas and Clint Dempsey. Mia Hamm serves as head coach for a team full of former USWNT players with the creative name of US Women. Additionally, numerous indoor, futsal and beach soccer stars like Zach Reget, Ian Bennett and Nick Perera set to play.

There are also several celebrities competing. Some of these celebrities include former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson leading Cincinatti-based Nati SC, Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash lending his talents to Italian Serie B club Como 1907 and social media influencers Spencer Owen and Noah Beck representing Hashtag United and Borussia Dortmund.

Schedule, Teams, How to Watch

The tournament runs from Thursday, June 1 until Sunday, June 4, and follows the same format as the World Cup. The teams have been split into eight groups of four teams, with every team opening the tournament with two group stage games on Thursday and concluding the group stage on Friday morning. The top two finishers from each group advance to the Round of 16 Friday afternoon, beginning the single elimination knockout rounds that include quarterfinal and semifinal matchups on Saturday before the winner-take-all final on Sunday.

Here is the list of the 32 teams in their four-team groups seeded 1-4.

  • Group A: Borussia Dortmund; Hoosier Army (IU Alumni); Kingdom FC; Newtown Pride FC
  • Group B: Blade & Grass FC; DMV Diplomats; Villita FC; Wolves FC
  • Group C: Club Necaxa; Hapoel Tel Aviv FC; SLC FC; Virginia Dream
  • Group D: Culture by Mo Ali FC; Dallas United; Far East United; West Ham United FC
  • Group E: Como 1907; Say Word FC; US Women; Wrexham Red Dragons
  • Group F: Conrad & Beasley United; Gracie FC; Hashtag United; Nati SC
  • Group G: Jackson TN Boom; Sneaky Fox FC; Team Dempsey; Zala FFF
  • Group H: Charlotte FC; Duke Sevens; North Carolina FC; Raleigh Rebels FC

NBC Sports will broadcast every match through either Peacock or TST’s YouTube channel. All knockout games will be exclusively streamed through Peacock while CNBC will also broadcast Sunday’s Final.

This link has the full schedule and where to find the games.

Group Stage: Thursday 8 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. CT, Friday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. CT — Peacock; TST Youtube

Round of 16: Friday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. CT — Peacock

Quarterfinals: Saturday 11 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. CT — Peacock

Semifinals: Saturday 6 p.m. CT; 7:30 p.m. CT — Peacock

Finals: Sunday 2 p.m. CT — Peacock; CNBC

Rules and Format

Each match will consist of two 20-minute halves split by a two-minute halftime. After the 40 minutes, the teams will conclude the game with an untimed period. The team that reaches the target score first wins. The target score, referred to as the Elam Ending, is one more goal than the leading team has at the end of the second half. Not reaching the target score within 10 minutes results in both teams taking off a player every five minutes.

The playing fields have been minimized to 65 yards long and 45 yards wide with goal frames 6.5 feet high and 18.5 feet wide. The field is much smaller for some, and a little larger for others. There are no offsides and no slide tackles. The clock only stops for injuries and official time-outs.

Kansas City ties

Kansas City has ties to 22 players competing in The Soccer Tournament. Many names will be familiar while others may be brand new to some. Here they are and their connection to Kansas City.

Villita FC: Zach Reget (Comets 2023-Present); Boris Pardo (Wizards 2009, Comets 2010-13, 2015-16); Guerrero Pino (Comets 2016-18, UMKC graduate); Mitchell Cardenas (Sporting KC Supplemental Draft pick in 2013)

Sneaky Fox FC: Ramone Palmer (Comets 2012-2017, 2018-Present, Park University graduate); Michael Harrington (Sporting KC 2007-2012); Brad Evans (Sporting KC 2018)

US Women: Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City 2015-16); Casey Loyd (FC Kansas City 2013); Niki Philips (FC Kansas City 2014)

Team Dempsey: Jose Burciaga Jr. (Wizards 2001-07); Eddie Johnson (Wizards 2006-07)

Conrad & Beasley United: Jimmy Conrad (Wizards 2003-2010); Nick Besler (KC native, Blue Valley West High School graduate); Chris Konopka (Wizards 2007)

Newtown Pride FC: Robert Palmer (Comets 2012-17, 2018-2020, Park University graduate)

DMV Diplomats: Amobi Okugo (Sporting KC 2015)

Zala FFF: Lauren Sessleman (FC Kansas City 2013); Tony Rocha (Sporting KC MLS SuperDraft pick in 2015)

Charlotte FC: Heath Honold (Sporting KC Academy)

Jackson TN Boom: Juan Anasco Arias (MidAmerica Nazarene University graduate)

Nati SC: Chad Johnson (Sporting KC trialist 2011; former NFL star)

Dallas United: Kenny Cooper (Sporting KC trialist 2016)

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