TSSA Hosting Friendship Cup Recreation Festival on May 27-28

John Moore and Mary Grimes.
John Moore, TSSA Vice President of Youth Recreational, with Cleveland Grimes’ wife, Mary, at a recent Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup hosted by Jackson Area Wide Soccer.

Event Held in Memory of Cleveland Grimes, Former TSSA Board Member and Executive Vice President

The Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA) will be hosting its 2023 Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup during the weekend of May 27-28. The recreation soccer festival will be held at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro at the same time as TSSA State Cup Finals, creating a fully vibrant soccer atmosphere throughout the facility.

The TSSA Friendship Cup is held in memory of Cleveland Grimes, who previously served as a TSSA Board Member and Executive Vice President. Grimes made countless contributions to soccer throughout his lifetime, coaching and refereeing at all stages of the game in addition to his various leadership roles. However, it was at the recreation level that he truly found his love for the sport.

“For those who do not know of Cleveland Grimes, his role in growing the Beautiful Game at the grassroots level across Tennessee cannot be overstated,” said John Moore, TSSA Vice President of Youth Recreational. “All of our current players and their families today owe a debt of gratitude to this pioneering member of the TSSA Soccer Hall of Fame. Cleveland served on the TSSA Board of Directors from 1998 until his untimely passing in the spring of 2016. For most of his tenure on the Board, he served as the TSSA Southeastern District Director where he is considered by many to be the Godfather of Soccer in the 11-County Greater Chattanooga Area. Cleveland championed the growth of soccer in that corner of the state from just seven TSSA Member Associations in 1998 to 14 by the time he became the Executive Vice President of TSSA.”

The Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup will host age groups ranging from 6U to 19U, but all teams and players must be registered with the Tennessee State Soccer Association as a Division 4 Recreation Team. Each team will play a minimum of three games over the weekend with boys, girls and coed sides all being invited to participate. The games will also be used as an opportunity for young referees to receive exposure to an event outside of their hometown club. Further, 13U to 19U teams with limited rosters will be offered a small-sided playing format (6v6 or 7v7) on a reduced-sized pitch.

“Cleveland pioneered the first District-Wide Recreational Soccer Festival in Tennessee long before TSSA began hosting Kohl’s Cups, the predecessor to the current Friendship Cup. His local Recreational Festival continues to this day,” continued Moore. “Long after his own children were grown and out of the nest, Cleveland continued to spend his Saturdays as a volunteer recreational coach for three and four-year-olds. He was the first coach for more than one generation of youth soccer players. His guiding principle to his fellow members of the TSSA Board of Directors and every club leader or coach he counseled was: Get everyone to think of what’s best for the kids, who just want to play soccer, and usually the answer becomes clear.”

The theme of the Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup will be “all about having fun” and celebrating grassroots soccer. In addition to the soccer activity, there will be various forms of entertainment throughout the weekend to provide a full festival atmosphere.

“This year we are pleased to host this event alongside our State Cup in Murfreesboro, Tennessee,” said Hans Hobson, Chief Operating Officer of the Tennessee State Soccer Association. “We look forward to hosting the many recreational teams.”

Registration is currently open for the Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup during the weekend of May 27-28. For full details and pricing information, or to sign-up your team today, visit the Friend Cup Registration Page online.

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