On July 13, thirty competitive and soccer-skilled companies in the Chicago area came together for our 5th Annual Corporate Challenge Cup, presented by Morningstar, Inc. This annual tournament holds friendly 6 vs. 6 matches between teams in an eventual elimination battle for the Corporate Challenge Cup championship title. All teams played hard to benefit the students in Urban Initiatives’ programs.
Three days prior to the tournament, Urban Initiative’s own Jared Thomas revealed the match ups within the group stage on Facebook Live. Each corporation had a chance to play three group stage games and establish their soccer dominance and earn their spot in the knockout rounds. Stats on an individual team’s record (wins, losses, and ties) and goal differentials (goals scored and goals drawn), would be recorded during the group stage to determine the top two or three teams of the group, who would then get the chance to compete in the knockout round.
Two days before the tournament, Urban Initiatives announced a change in location. For the past five years, the Corporate Challenge Cup had taken place in the outdoor fields of Humboldt Park. But due to unsafe field conditions this year, Urban Initiatives made the call to move the event to the Chicago Indoor Sports Center. This space, complete with four turf fields, has regularly hosted many of UI game days throughout the years. The change of location didn’t slow down any of the soccer players participating in the Corporate Challenge Cup — the turf fields and the confined walls made the soccer matches very active and exciting.
Team members showed up bright and early on Saturday at 9:00 A.M to the sports center, welcomed by breakfast, drinks, a DJ playing music, and UI’s own Jared Thomas and Jim Dower over the loudspeaker. Game play started at 10am and continued throughout the day. Although not every team advanced to the knockout round, many stayed to watch the tournament progress and cheer on their favorite teams. Finally, four teams remained: Citadel Securities, Chicago Reach, Northwestern Mutual and William Blair played in the semi-final matches. After fierce semi-final games, William Blair and Chicago Reach advanced to the finals where Chicago Reach claimed victory!
The Corporate Challenge Cup is one of the most high-energy Urban Initiatives events of the year, and the 2019 Cup was no exception. We so appreciate all the volunteers (including our high school participants!), sponsors, players, and staff who made this event possible. The 2019 Corporate Challenge Cup was a huge success and the proceeds from the event will support the over 17,000 youth in Urban Initiatives programs across the city.