BLAINE, Minn. - More than 1,000 teams from 17 states and 17 countries are competing this week in the 2013 Schwan's USA Cup despite this week's extreme heat.
Players have come to accept that heat is just part of the global game. It wouldn't be the USA Cup without it.
"We are shortening games. We are giving more water breaks," said Gary Leafblad, medical services coordinator for the USA Cup tournament, who hadn't seen a single case of heat exhaustion on Tuesday.
Water breaks are mandatory in case busy players forget, especially those not used to the conditions.
"Even some of our Canadian teams, they got to get ready and that is why some of them come down for the weekend tournament to get a little acclimated ," said Leafblad.
A team from Copenhagen, Denmark practiced with extra clothing just to simulate the warm weather.
"This is very hot because we are used to 70 degrees. Ninety degrees with high humidity is very, very hot. (It's) very tough to play (soccer) in this weather," said Niels Sterup, who came to watch his grandson play.
The teams from the furthest north traveled from Alaska and Yukon, Canada, and according to tournament organizers, are adjusting to the heat well.
As the Minneapolis United faced Puerto Rico, it seemed the home team did not have the advantage.
"It was pretty hot. It was tiring very quickly," said Dylan Hiebel, a player for Minneapolis United.
One of his opponents shrugged.
"It's easier," said Lester Cintron, 13, of the Bayamon Futbol club in Puerto Rico. He says playing soccer on this sweltering day in Minnesota is a breeze, compared to the climate he's used to.
"It is the same conditions to play in in Puerto Rico. The only difference is more humidity in Puerto Rico," said assistant coach Eric Morales.
Tournament organizers will raise a black flag in extreme conditions, which means the entire tournament stops. That's only happened twice in 29 years with both times occurring in 2011.
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