Anyone who’s been involved in kids’ soccer knows that at each game, one parent is responsible for bringing oranges for the players to munch on during halftime. This year, the Citrusdal, South Africa-based Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum is taking on that role for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

Soccer players to re-energize with South African oranges

The group plans to supply more than 2,000 South African oranges to players during the five-day tournament July 22-26. But players won’t be the only benefactors — spectators will have access to more than 10,000 more oranges.

The forum started its partnership with soccer in the U.S. last year with regional leagues, said Lisa Packer, a spokeswoman for the group.

“Oranges make perfect sense for soccer,” Packer said. “May through October, we thought soccer would be a good connection for South African citrus.”

The tournament, in Lancaster, Ma., brings 60 teams from around the U.S. Those teams won the first two rounds of the league’s state and regional tournaments, pared down from more than 10,000 teams.

Packer said the Western Cape association will have a South African Summer Citrus booth set up at the event.

In the past decade, imports of South African citrus have increased from 500 tons in 1999 to an average of 40,000 tons, according to the forum.