TST Returns: Bigger and Better

International soccer stars compete in Cary

As the most popular sport in the world, soccer has nearly 4 billion fans. Even if you aren’t among them, The Soccer Tournament (TST) coming to WakeMed Soccer Park June 5-10 promises an unforgettable experience.

Last year, the inaugural TST pitted 32 teams with members from across the globe against each other in a winner-take-all tournament with a $1 million prize. This year, the fun and fandom are multiplied: 48 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams will throw down for TWO $1 million prize pots.

Lauren Morris met players at last year’s TST.

In all, TST will host 118 7v7 matches over six days, but that’s just the beginning. Boasting a “festival atmosphere,” the tournament will also include live music and other entertainment, international food and beverages, VIP experiences, and an infectiously enthusiastic atmosphere.

TST takes a unique format. With an open application, any team can enter the showdown. Rosters may include up to 18 players, with 7 on the field at a time and unlimited substitutions. After two 20-minute periods, play continues to an untimed round where the victor will be the team with 1 point more than the higher goal count at the end of timed play. In other words, if the score is 5-3 at the end of timed play, the first team to 6 will win. The showdowns are intense, and the stakes are high!

Men’s and women’s teams from both Wrexham AFC — owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney — and Burnley FC — backed by JJ Watt and Kealia Watt — will be among the competitors. Legendary Portuguese footballer Luis Nani will play for Nani FC alongside former players from Manchester United and other fan-favorite teams. Former US Women’s National Team star Heather O’Reilly will play for the US Women team, and the NC Courage will put forth a team as well.

Several Cary Magazine staffers visited last year and were blown away by the environment. “It was incredible to see this level of athletic talent right here in Cary at last year’s TST,” said Cary Magazine Managing Editor and Creative Director Lauren Morris, who doesn’t consider herself a massive soccer fan but still can’t wait to return for this year’s experience. “The excitement of the local crowd was contagious!”

Get close to the action at WakeMed Soccer Park!

Social Media Manager Arlem Mora shared the sentiment: “Attending TST last year was a fantastic way to support the community and cheer for the incredible teams, even though I didn’t expect to get into the sport. However, the lively and encouraging atmosphere made it impossible not to get caught up in the soccer excitement. I’m looking forward to this year’s games and can’t wait to see who snags the million-dollar prize!”

“Events like The Soccer Tournament are what Cary was built for,” said Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht.

Premium experiences include the Sevens Club, with climate-controlled seating, complimentary food and bar service, private restrooms, and other perks; and Cabana Row offering private fieldside cabanas that accommodate 15 guests.

All tickets and parking must be purchased online. TST has no in-person ticket sales. Seating for each field is by general admission, so arrive early!

Can’t make it in person? Don’t worry! All non-ESPN programming matches will be available to stream for free.

For more information, team rosters, and tickets, visit thetournament.com/tst.

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