Team from India Competing in Schwan's USA Cup has a Bigger Message

Updated: 07/12/2014 3:06 PM
Created: 07/11/2014 10:04 PM
By: Todd Wilson

The largest youth soccer tournament on this side of the globe is back this weekend for its 30th year. The Schwan's USA Cup takes place in Blaine.

One team, all the way from India, will compete, and they have bigger dreams than scoring goals.  

For the all-girl Indian "Yuwa Supergoats," the soccer field is a comfort.

"I like it because it's a very fun place," 12-year-old Yuhi said. She plays left midfield.

This weekend will be the first time a team from India has participated in the USA Cup.

Their life at home is tough.

"It is very difficult because our parents are not agreeable to play. They say you only work in the house and do house work," Yuhi said.

Franz Gastler is originally from Edina. He's been living in India since shortly after he graduated from college. He and a few friends helped start the "Yuwa Supergoats." The name "Yuwa" means youth. It was first a scholarship program to go to school.

"It basically transformed into a girls' soccer program to prevent child marriage and human trafficking," Gastler said.

To play in the tournament the team had to travel more than 7,500 miles, meaning, it took them three days to get to Minnesota. Financially, it was a difficult task raising more than $50,000 to pay for the expenses. That is, until an Indian sports channel started a funding campaign.

"Six-hundred people came forward and donated from their own pockets," Gastler said.

Gastler says this is a chance of a lifetime for these girls, so even if they don't win, he's proud of them anyway.

"I'm proud of these girls. Everything they do is an up hill battle, like joining a soccer in a place where girls are not supposed to wear shorts," Gastler said.

Yuhi says sports are like life; you have to face your challenges head on.

"It's fun to play with the American girls," Yuhi said. "And it's tough to play with them." 

If you would like to donate to the Yuwa team, visit their website.

A soccer team from India is competing in the Schwan's USA Cup in Blaine this weekend.
Photo: KSTP/Nick Gaither

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