OLEAN — Finally, it’s game week for the 2020 NY/PA Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase.
Delayed from its initial game date of May 17, organizers found a home and a date for the latest renewal of the New York vs. Pennsylvania boys and girls soccer games. On Sunday at Bradner Stadium, some of the best high school soccer players, girls and boys, from both sides of the border in the Big 30 area, are set to take the field. The boys teams are set to play at 4 p.m., followed by the girls at 7 p.m.
Securing the game date came with some limitations, due to state health requirements, including each player being limited to two confirmed spectators in attendance.
Practices have also reflected social distancing guidelines, New York boys coach Ryan McKnight, of Genesee Valley, said.
“We follow the New York state guidelines,” McKnight said. “Kris Linderman (the game’s co-founder and organizer) did an amazing job for us keeping track of that and what we had to do as far as athletes from their vehicle to the field had to wear masks and the coaches if you couldn't be more than six feet apart. We had to keep their bags so many feet apart, they couldn't share water bottles, they couldn't exchange the pinneys they wore in practice ... it was their pinney for the remainder of practice. We just couldn't share certain items and things like that.
“(Kris) obviously wanted the game to go, so we certainly weren't going to do something to jeopardize not being able to play.”
Both New York rosters include several high school stars from this area. Traditionally played before the end of the school year, the games feature players from multiple high school classes.
The New York boys team has four Randolph Cardinals, including graduated seniors Kaleb Steward (a co-captain) and Ty Rosengren and rising seniors Ethan Shields and Bryson Rozler.
Ellicottville 2020 grad Jack Snyder is on the team, along with rising ECS seniors Noah Steinbroner and Bryce Butler.
Darec Funke also made the squad after his senior year playing for Cattaraugus-Little Valley/Salamanca.
“the main strength of this team, I would say, we have a lot of utility players this year who could play pretty much anywhere on the field, and that's kind of what we focused on, the kids' overall ability to play the game,” McKnight said. “Just the way they see the field and kind of read each other, I'm pretty impressed with this year's team. Not that we weren't last year, last year we had a great team as well. But the kids, being that they come from different schools, they just seem to click pretty quickly with each other.”
The New York girls roster includes four Randolph players, and one from Ellicottville. The coaching staff also features two area coaches, with Randolph coach Alexa Troutman and former Ellicottville coach Mary Neilon both serving on Allegany-Limestone coach Dale MacArthur’s staff.
Playing in the girls’ game from Randolph are Valerie Crouse, a 2020 grad; rising senior Natalie Philp and rising juniors Tyra Clark and Ashley Crouse.
Representing Ellicottville this year is rising junior Mandy Hurlburt.
For those who cannot attend in person, both games are set to be streamed on Facebook on the “Mazza the Corporate Cup” page.