The 2012 Dallas Cup

The 2012 Dallas Cup was the 33rd edition of the storied youth tournament.  The competition boasts American alumni Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey, Jeff Agoos, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride, John O’Brien, Jonathan Spector, and Oguchi Onyewu.  Foreign stars who played in the Dallas Cup as a youth player include Adolfo Baustista, Rafael Marquez, Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez, Raul, David Beckham, Michael Owen, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Ledley King, Maicon, and Luisão.

The age cut-off date for each group is August 1st of each birth year.  The age groups are u-13 (1998), u-14 (’97), u-15 (’96), u-16 (’95), u-17 (’94), u-19 (’92) and the showcase Super Group, which is also a u-19 competition.

The Super Group was broken into three brackets.  Bracket A included Manchester United FC (England), Santa Clara Sporting, Tigres (Mexico), and FC Dallas USSF u17/18 Academy.  Bracket B had Paris St Germain (France), Seleccion Nacional de Mexico Sub 20 [the u20 Mexican national team], Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), and the Dallas Texans USSF u17/18 Academy.  Everton FC (England), Coritiba FC (Brazil), Club Bolivar (Bolivia), and Kashiwa Reysol (Japan) rounded out Bracket C.

Because only four teams qualified for the next round, teams not only needed to win but also to capitalize on goal differential to make it to the semifinals.  Manchester United won all three of their matches to qualify with 9 points.  Eintracht Frankfurt and Coritiba FC topped their respective groups to move on.  The highest ranking second placed team was Everton FC with 6 points and a +6 goal differential.  FC Dallas just missed the semifinal by amassing 6 points but only a +2 goal differential.  The other American team in the group, Dallas Texans, sat in second place in Bracket B after earning 4 points and a +1 goal differential.

Coritiba FC topped Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1, while Manchester United dominated Everton FC to a 2-0 scoreline.  The championship match was a closely fought battle between Manchester United and Coritiba FC, with the Brazilian side prevailing and lifting the trophy.

19 American teams participated in the u-19 age group, which featured 7 brackets of 4 teams each.  The nine other teams at this age level came from England (Knowsley Youth, Lewisham College, and Royal Navy), Mexico (Prepa Tec, CFI Guadalajara, and Charming Club), Colombia (Club Deportivo Escuela de Futbol Carlos), Zimbabwe (Bantu Rovers FC), and the Puerto Rico u-19 National Team.

The seven group winners and top ranked second placed team moved on to the quarterfinals.  Solar Chelsea USSF u17/18 Academy and Arsenal FC USSF u17/18 Academy both carried strong quarterfinal performances through the semifinals and into the championship match.  Solar Chelsea (a Development Academy club from Dallas, TX) defeated Arsenal FC (a DA club from Temecula, CA) 3-1 to raise the trophy for the u-19 age group.

The u-17 age group featured 32 teams in 8 brackets, with 2 teams from Canada, 1 from UAE, 1 from Germany, 1 from China, 1 from Mexico.  Rot Weiss Essen (Germany) and Tigres (Mexico) dominated their competition through the tournament and the German club bested their opponents in the championship match.

OBGC Rangers (Maryland) defeated FC Golden State (California) for the u-16 title.  Fullerton Rangers White (California) defeated Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) to win the u-15 age division.  Sunrise Elite (Florida) nipped Arsenal FC USSF Academy (California) to lift the u-14 trophy.  At the u-13 level, United FC Gold (California) beat Nomads Academy (California).

The Dallas Cup remains the premier youth tournament in the United States and a destination for some of the top youth sides in the world.  Despite only winning the Super Group 3 times in the competition’s history, American clubs dominate the younger divisions and continued participation in the Dallas Cup will only bring positive developments into the American game.
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