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South African oranges were being promoted July 20-25 as "the fruit of choice" at the 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships tournament in suburban Kansas City, KS.

According to a July 20 press release from a tournament sponsoring organization, the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, this is the second year of the South African citrus soccer promotion.

"We are delighted to again be the fruit sponsor of the 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships," Joretha Geldenhuys, the organization's chief executive officer, said in the release. "Soccer moms throughout the U.S. know that summer citrus is the perfect thirst-quenching and energizing snack for soccer players." During the tournament, the forum will distribute thousands of oranges to players and spectators.

The forum indicated that the journey to the 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships began with more than 10,000 teams competing at the state level, with 928 teams qualifying for the regional level. The 60 national qualifiers will compete for the 12 groups of under 14 through under 19 boys and girls age brackets, seeking to be crowned national champions. The tournament is played at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland, KS.

The export of South African summer citrus to the United States began in 1999 with 500 tons. Currently, South Africa exports more than 40,000 tons of citrus per year to the United States.