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2020 Graduation Cup to give 28 high school boys soccer teams some much needed closure

Brighton’s Walker Schwendiman (4) dribbles the ball while followed by Olympus High School’s midfielder Logan Davies (2) during the UHSAA 5A soccer championship game on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Both the Bengals and Titans, along with 26 other teams, will take part in the 2020 Graduation Cup.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

FARMINGTON — It is safe to say that there was a great deal of disappointment when the high school boys soccer season was cancelled on April 14, along with all other spring sports, casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of soccer players, including 895 seniors, went from dreaming of playing for a state championship within the confines of Rio Tinto Stadium, to wondering when or even if they’d have the opportunity to play organized and competitive soccer again.

For over two dozen teams, the doubt, the speculation and conjecture is soon to be over.

Starting on Monday, June 8 and continuing through Saturday, June 13, 28 high school boys soccer teams from four different classifications (6A, 5A, 4A, and 3A) will descend upon the Legacy Events Center in Farmington for the 2020 Graduation Cup.

Organized by Nisa Hancock, tournament director for Wasatch Soccer Club, the Graduation Cup is not sanctioned by the UHSAA or the UYSA, or even the Wasatch Soccer Club, but hopes to provide some much needed closure for the athletes.

“The goal is for everyone to have a good time,” said Hancock. “To have a chance to have that closure, especially for their seniors. This was supposed to be their last year representing their high schools and playing soccer and we wanted to give them that chance.”

The tournament will include the following schools, listed in alphabetical order: Bingham, Bonneville, Bountiful, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Davis, Farmington, Hillcrest, Jordan, Maple Mountain, Morgan, Mountain Crest, Mountain View, Murray, Ogden, Olympus, Orem, Park City, Pleasant Grove, Riverton, Roy, Skyridge, Stansbury, Timpview, Viewmont, Wasatch, Westlake and Woods Cross.

The teams will be separated into two pools, known as the Pomp and Circumstance divisions. The Pomp division will be the larger of the two, with 16 teams in total, all from the 6A and 5A classifications, while the Circumstance division will include teams from 6A, 5A, 4A and 3A.

Teams in the Pomp division include: Bonneville, Corner Canyon, Davis and Mountain View (Group A); Bingham, Farmington, Roy and Skyridge (Group B); Brighton, Olympus, Pleasant Grove and Westlake (Group C); Bountiful, Murray, Viewmont and Wasatch (Group D).

Teams in the Circumstance division include: Hillcrest, Jordan and Ogden (Group A); Maple Mountain, Morgan and Timpview (Group B); Orem, Riverton and Wood Cross (Group C); Mountain Crest, Park City and Stansbury (Group D).

The divisions were organized via a coaches survey, with past success, performance during the abbreviated 2020 season and additional factors taken into consideration.

Both divisions will participate in pool play Monday through Wednesday, beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing into the late evening. Pomp will then get Thursday off, while Circumstance will have a pair of consolation matches, as well as four quarterfinal matches.

On Friday, both divisions will have a pair of semifinal matches, with the tournament championships slated for Saturday.

Initially, the plan was to have one large World Cup-style tournament, with 24 teams in total, but demand proved to be greater than expected.

“It was super positive. They were all really really excited to play,” said Hancock. “When I opened up registration, the teams had to sign up and pay as a team, and we filled the original 24 spots pretty quick. Then I had a couple of teams call and say, ‘Hey, we really, really, really want in.’ Originally the plan was to have one big bracket, kind of World Cup-style, but once I let in four additional teams we had to change it to two brackets. There just wasn’t enough time to fit that many games in one week.”

In the end, Hancock actually had to turn away some interested teams, as news of the tourney spread quickly.

“The soccer world is kind of small and word started to spread,” she said.

Much of that was due to the efforts of parents, notably Scott Harwood.

“He is a Davis High School parent and soccer enthusiast and I’m pretty sure he called every soccer coach in the state,” said Hancock. “He has been so awesome as far as getting teams to register.”

Spectators will not be allowed, barring a late and unforeseen development, as per the order of the health department.

2020 Graduation Cup schedule

At Legacy Events Center, Farmington

Pomp Division

Monday, June 8

  • Davis vs. Bonneville, 8 a.m.
  • Roy vs. Bingham, 9 a.m.
  • Westlake vs. Brighton, 10 a.m.
  • Murray vs. Viewmont, 11 a.m.
  • Wasatch vs. Bountiful, 4 p.m.
  • Pleasant Grove vs. Olympus, 5 p.m.
  • Farmington vs. Skyridge, 5 p.m.
  • Corner Canyon vs. Mountain View, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9

  • Bountiful vs. Murray, 8 a.m.
  • Viewmont vs. Wasatch, 9 a.m.
  • Mountain View vs. Davis, 11 a.m.
  • Brighton vs. Pleasant Grove, 4 p.m.
  • Bonneville vs. Corner Canyon, 5 p.m.
  • Olympus vs. Westlake, 5 p.m.
  • Skyridge vs. Roy, 7 p.m.
  • Bingham vs. Farmington, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10

  • Roy vs. Farmington, 8 a.m.
  • Olympus vs. Brighton, 9 a.m.
  • Viewmont vs. Bountiful, 9 a.m.
  • Bingham vs. Skyridge, 11 a.m.
  • Mountain View vs. Bonneville, 4 p.m.
  • Murray vs. Wasatch, 5 p.m.
  • Pleasant Grove vs. Westlake, 5 p.m.
  • Corner Canyon vs. Davis, 7 p.m.

Top team from each group advances

Friday, June 12

Semifinals

  • Semifinal 1, Winner of Group A vs. Winner of Group B, 4 p.m.
  • Semifinal 2, Winner of Group C vs. Winner of Group D, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 13

Final

  • Winner semifinal 1 vs. Winner semifinal 2, 8 a.m.

Circumstance Division

Monday, June 8

  • Woods Cross vs. Riverton, 9 a.m.
  • Mountain Crest vs. Park City, 11 a.m.
  • Ogden vs. Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
  • Morgan vs. Maple Mountain, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9

  • Maple Mountain vs. Timpview, 9 a.m.
  • Riverton vs. Orem, 10 a.m.
  • Hillcrest vs. Jordan, 11 a.m.
  • Park City vs. Stansbury, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10

  • Orem vs. Woods Cross, 10 a.m.
  • Stansbury vs. Mountain Crest, 11 a.m.
  • Timpview vs. Morgan, 6 p.m.
  • Jordan vs. Ogden, 7 p.m.

Top two teams from each group advances

Thursday, June 11

Consolation play

  • Third-place team of Group A vs. Third-place team of Group B, 4 p.m.
  • Third-place team of Group C vs. Third-place team of Group D, 4 p.m.

Quarterfinals

  • Quarterfinal 1, Winner of Group A vs. Second-place team of Group B, 5:30 p.m.
  • Quarterfinal 2, Winner of Group B vs. Second-place team of Group A, 6 p.m.
  • Quarterfinal 3, Winner of Group C vs. Second-place team of Group D, 6:30 p.m.
  • Quarterfinal 4, Winner of Group D vs. Second-place team of Group C, 3:30 p.m.

Friday, June 12

Semifinals

  • Semifinal 1, Winner quarterfinal 1 vs. Winner quarterfinal 2, 6:30 p.m.
  • Semifinal 2, Winner quarterfinal 3 vs. Winner quarterfinal 4, 6 p.m.

Saturday, June 13

Final

  • Winner semifinal 1 vs. Winner semifinal 2, 10 a.m.