Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The 16th annual Duluth-Vaxjo Soccer Exchange (DVSE) tournament officially kicked off on Monday morning, with four teams and more than 100 international guests here visiting the Northland from Vaxjo, Sweden.
Opening ceremonies at Stebner Field in Hermantown, Minn. officially started the three-day tournament, which will wrap up on Wednesday morning with championship games.
The sister city relationship and the tournament are both centered around soccer, but organizers say that is only a small part of what the kids get our of this trip every year.
"Beyond that is the opportunity they have to live with a host family, so it's much more than just traveling to a country," DVSE Duluth chapter president Cindy Hedstrom said. "You actually get to live with the family, help cook meals, you stay with them, you see how they do life, and I think that's the real benefit."
"It's nice to come here and see the culture of Duluth and the American people," DVSE Vaxjo chapter president Michael Svensson said, "and they have a friend for life. That's very important."
The trip is conducted on a rotating basis, so next year the American players will visit Sweden and be hosted by the families in Vaxjo.