The Nike Palmetto Cup soccer tournament has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a low-key, four-team tournament at Brookland-Cayce in 1993.
Now in its 21st season, the tournament has become the elite in-season tournament in South Carolina and recognized as the top boys soccer tournament in the Southeast by StudentSports.com. The Palmetto Cup earned Nike sponsorship for the first time last year and has become a primary barometer for the ESNRise and NSCAA ranking committees.
The 16-team tournament kicks off with six matches on Wednesday at The Cage, followed by eight matches on Thursday at The Cage and Granby Education Center.
The field features eight ranked South Carolina teams – Wando (No. 1, 4A, 8-0), Fort Mill (No. 4, 4A, 13-1), Lexington (No. 10, 4A, 9-3), Myrtle Beach (No. 1, 3A, 8-1), Brookland-Cayce (No. 4, 3A, 7-1), Bishop England (No. 2, 2A, 8-1-1) and Cardinal Newman (No. 2, SCISA, 8-4-2) – and five teams make their Cup debut – Westwood, Clinton, Gaffney, Seneca and South Pointe.
Farragut and Dobyns-Bennett, two Tennessee schools with long Cup histories are the two out-of-state teams in the field.
The Nike Palmetto Cup schedule:
Wednesday, April 3
Brookland-Cayce vs. Clinton (10 a.m.); Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Mill (noon); Myrtle Beach vs. Westwood (2 p.m.); Lexington vs. South Pointe (4 p.m.); Dobyns-Bennett vs. Wando (6 p.m.); Clover vs. Farragut, TN (8 p.m.).
Thursday, April 4
Wando vs. Cardinal Newman (10 a.m.); Gaffney vs. Brookland-Cayce (noon); Lexington vs. Myrtle Beach (2 p.m.); Westwood vs. Dobyns-Bennett TN (4 p.m.); South Pointe vs. Seneca (5 p.m., Granby); Farragut TN vs. Fort Mill (6 p.m.); Walhalla vs. Gaffney (7 p.m., Granby); Bishop England vs. Clover (8 p.m.).
Friday, April 5
Fort Mill vs. Clinton (10 a.m.); Walhalla vs. Bishop England (noon); Clover vs. Cardinal Newman (1 p.m., Granby); Seneca vs. Lexington (2 p.m.); Dobyns-Bennett TN vs. Gaffney (3 p.m.. Granby); Myrtle Beach vs. Farragut TN (4 p.m.); Clinton vs. Westwood (5 p.m., Granby); Brookland-Cayce vs. Walhalla (6 p.m.); Bishop England vs. South Pointe (7 p.m., Granby); Seneca vs. Wando (8 p.m.).
Saturday, April 6
Semifinal matches at The Cage and Granby (9:30 p.m.); Championship (5 p.m.).