TSSA Hosts Friendship Cup Recreation Festival

Cleveland Grimes’ wife, Mary, with John Moore, TSSA Vice President of Youth Recreational.

The Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA) hosted its 2023 Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup this past weekend at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro. The recreation soccer festival was conducted at the same time as TSSA State Cup Finals, which created a fully vibrant soccer atmosphere throughout the entire facility.

The TSSA Friendship Cup is held annually 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.

“In addition to hosting teams from eight different TSSA Member Associations, we were thrilled to host many members of Cleveland Grimes’ extended family,” said John Moore, TSSA Vice President of Youth Recreational. “Cleveland’s wife, Mary, spent the entire weekend with us supporting the event and repeatedly commented how thrilled Cleveland would be to see so many children enjoying the Beautiful Game in a stress free, recreational setting focused on having fun with their extended families and teammates. We were honored to draw grandparents and even great-grandparents from multiple states who traveled to spend their holiday family time at our soccer fields. I am excited to see so much enthusiasm and support for this one-of-a-kind recreational soccer event.”

The Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup hosted age groups ranging from 7U to 16U, and each team played a minimum of three matches over the weekend with boys, girls and coed sides all participating. The games were also used as an opportunity for young referees to receive exposure to an event outside of their hometown club. Further, 13U to 16U teams with limited rosters were offered a small-sided playing format (6v6 or 7v7) on a reduced-sized pitch.

“This was the first of many future Friendship Cups that we hope to host in Murfreesboro,” said Hans Hobson, Chief Operating Officer of the Tennessee State Soccer Association. “The location was helpful in being able to pull over officials from the State Cup event as well, allowing our recreational kids to experience some of our best.”

The theme of the Cleveland Grimes Friendship Cup is all about having fun and celebrating grassroots soccer. In addition to the soccer activity, the event also featured various forms of entertainment to provide a full festival atmosphere throughout the weekend.

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