Copa México de Naciones: A Premier International u-15 Tournament

“El futuro del fútbol mundial nuevamente estará en México mostrando sus cualidades”

“The future of world football will again be in Mexico showcasing their talents” – a promotion commonly used in press releases for the Copa México de Naciones

Last year marked the first edition of the Copa México de Naciones which ran from June 18 until June 24. The tournament invited the following 8 teams: Mexico, Spain, Nigeria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Canada, and United States. Nigeria decided not to attend the tournament which prompted organizers to include an all star youth team from Mexico’s amateur Third Division, which is actually the fourth tier of the country’s league system. This last minute addition was listed as “Mexico II” in the proceedings.

Both in 2012 and 2013, the tournament rules stipulate two 35 minute halves with a 10 minute break for halftime. This is crucial as the group stage games are played on consecutive days.

The United States team went 1-1-1 in group B of the 2012 tournament; beating Costa Rica, drawing Colombia, and losing to Spain. Mexico II beat Mexico in penalties in one semifinal match while Colombia defeated Spain in a penalty shootout in the other. Colombia lost to Mexico II after the final went into extra rounds of penalties. Continue reading

Sub-17 Copa Independencia 2012 and the Generation Adidas Cup

The 2012 Copa Independencia begins this weeks with ten teams battling for the u-17 title.  There are five game days and each team plays four of them.  The group stage matches run from Monday August 13 through Friday August 17.  Saturday August 18 are the two semifinal matches (first place from Group A against second place from Group B and vice versa).  The final will be held on Sunday August 19.

The teams in Group A are: Club América (MEX), Chivas de Guadalajara (MEX), Monarcas Morelia (MEX), FC Barcelona (SPA), Boca Juniors (ARG).  Group B has the following teams: Cruz Azul (MEX), Pumas UNAM (MEX), Pachuca (MEX), Fiorentina (ITA), SC Internacional (BRA).

I briefly wrote about last year’s edition of the Copa Independencia, which you can read here.  2011’s tournament featured Club América, Cruz Azul, Pumas, Pachuca, Monterrey, Chivas de Guadalajara, Sao Paulo, Santos, Boca Juniors, and CSKA Moscow.  That makes 6 Mexican teams, 2 Brazilian teams and 1 from each of Argentina and Russia.  The tournament’s first running in 2010 only featured 8 teams vying for the cup.  Those teams were América, Penarol, Boca Juniors, Pumas, Chivas, Cruz Azul, Sao Paulo, River Plate.

The Copa Independencia is among the most prestigious international youth soccer tournaments in the world.  Along with the Gauteng Tournament, Dallas Cup, Gothia Cup, the Real Sociedad Invitational, and Milk Cup, the Copa Independencia provides a tremendous platform for the world’s most promising players to develop and make a name for themselves. Continue reading

Los Angeles Galaxy Travel to the Real Sociedad Youth Invitational Tournament

After the New England Revolution recently sent their u-16 team to South Africa to compete in the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Tournament, Los Angeles Galaxy announced they were sending a team to Spain.  The club’s u-18 team participated in the 28th edition of the Real Sociedad Youth Invitational Tournament in San Sebastian, Basque Country in Spain.

Alongside Los Angeles Galaxy, Group A features three Spanish sides, Valencia CF, C.A. Osasuna and the hosts Real Sociedad.  Portugal’s RC Celta de Vigo, Greek side Olympiakos and Spanish sides RCD Espanyol and Gipuzkoa Konbinatua are in Group B.

The Galaxy will play Osasuna on Friday, April 6, followed by Valencia on April 7 and Real Sociedad on Sunday, April 8. The winners of each group will meet for the tournament championship on Monday, April 9 at 2 a.m. PST. 

This tournament is operated in part by Adidas and the Galaxy team will be exposed to top level training techniques through the Adidas International Training Program.  The Galaxy earned their berth in the 2012 Real Sociedad Youth Invitational by virtue of winning the 2011 Generation Adidas Cup victors at the u-16 level.

Team leader Jack McBean was very positive about the tournament.  “We’ve been preparing for it for a while now,” McBean said. “I know all the academy kids are really excited to go over there and showcase themselves.  I think we’re strong and we’re going in pretty confident.” Continue reading

The New England Revolution Participate in the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Tournament

Last August three clubs in Mexico City hosted a prestigious international youth club tournament, which I wrote about here, and I thought that it was unfortunate that there were no American teams participating in the event.

The New England Revolution u-16 team was invited to take part in the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng Tournament.  Future Champions operate two tournaments every year, one in Gauteng, South Africa, and the other in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

That first year, the teams participating in Gauteng were: Boca Juniors (Argentina), Inter Milan (Italy), Corinthians (Brazil), Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa), Esperance (Tunisia), Green City (China), PIFA CYFC (India), K-Stars (Zambia), Notwane (Botswana), Moroka Swallows (South Africa), SAFA Joburg Select (South Africa), SAFA Sedibeng Select (South Africa).Gauteng has held a Future Champions Tournament since 2009 and features a nice mix of leading global clubs, clubs from the host country, and foreign invitees.  According to the Future Champions website, The project is aimed at youth focusing on high performance, skills development, skills transfer and seeks to contribute to the elevation of the standard of football within the countries that it operates, nurturing the talent of Future Champions.” Continue reading