Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photo Essay – 2011 Dallas Cup

Every Easter week, Dallas plays host to one of the largest and more prominent youth tournaments in the nation (and the world). This year we had the opportunity to travel north from FBM HQ in Austin to take in the thirty-second edition of the Dallas Cup. Hundred of teams, thousands of players, and tens of thousands of fans took in a week’s worth of action.

The 2011 Dallas Cup featured teams from as far away as India and Japan and as close as the local Dallas Texans club and the FC Dallas youth sides. By far the most prominent members of the whole tournament were the inclusions of the youth teams of England’s Arsenal and Spain’s Barcelona. As fate would have it, neither would feature on Sunday, the tournament’s final day, and the day we attended.

We accepted a gracious offer from the Trinity Hall Irish Pub to catch the morning’s English Premier League action between Arsenal and Bolton. After three and a half hours in the car from Austin we needed a break, and, more importantly, a beer. (512) Brewing Company’s Black IPA was our drink of choice and we were able to share that alongside the youth team of Arsenal, who showed up minutes before kick off.

It’s one thing to watch Arsenal lose with Arsenal supporters, but it’s a whole other beast to do so with the actual team and it’s coaches. Bolton grabbed a late 2-1 win and sunk the EPL title hopes of Arsene Wenger and co. Quite the dejected bunch of kids and even a few outbursts of frustration leaving the pub. A few overheard “every f*cking year” and “we’re shit, mate” made it quite clear that the pain of missing out again on the league title was felt down the ranks of the club.

Pizza Hut Park

This was the FBM’s first time to PHP and definitely won’t be our last. FC Dallas’ stadium is located about 30 minutes north of Dallas proper in the center of sprawling Frisco. A great park with room for over 21,000 spectators it was a cool setting for the youngsters to feature in their finals in a proper stadium.


The massive sporting good company, Nike, is in its second year of sponsoring the Dallas Cup and they -brought the goods. We’re certain they had a hand in Arsenal’s and Barcelona’s appearance in the tournament, but their work didn’t stop there. 

Giant banners (like Dempsey’s below) with Dallas Cup alumni pictured (Wayne Rooney was on another) showed the power of an event like this. Who knows what future superstar might be playing amongst us all on this day?

In the Nike Shop, various Dallas Cup apparel and curiously enough, the new Women’s National Team jersey (although this was only male tourney), but no Men’s National Team threads (unless they were already gone?). In the shop was also a quick print station where you could customize your own tournament shirt as well.

I spoke briefly with one Nike guy who took pride in the company’s increased presence in the American soccer world. He pointed to their National Team commitments and sponsorships like the Dallas Cup that showed that Nike took soccer seriously in this country. He said the recent World Cup showed that there is a large market for soccer in this country and that Nike would be putting even more into the sport.

U-17 Final: Tigres (Mexico) 2-0 Sporting Santa Clara (California)

U-19 Finals: Ajax Gunners (Canada) 2 – 4 Knowsley Youth (England)

Kind of cool story here. Knowsley Youth, which is sponsored by the Knowsley City Council in Liverpool, has participated in the Dallas Cup for 21 years. Sunday they won their first championship. The celebrations were pretty epic.

U-19 Gordon Jago Super Group: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) 1-  1 Tigres (Mexico)

Of the European powerhouses participating in the Super Group we’re sure few picked these two to meet in the final, but the size, strength, and organization of Eintracht led them to match up with the speed and creativity of Mexico’s Tigres.

Tigres dominated the match early forcing Frankfurt into a steady stream of fouls and subsequent yellow cards. Grabbing a goal midway through the first half, Tigres surrendered that led right before halftime on a penalty kick (handball… we were on the other side of the action).

The match remained knotted at 1-1 until a huge thunderstorm blew though around the 65th minute. After a hour and a half delay, tournament officials decided to abandon the match and declare both teams the champions.

Barcelona’s Junior (eliminated from finals play) samples the American soccer staple, Kettle Corn, before the final.

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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
– Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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