The Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup played every Spring on fields throughout the Metroplex is the most prestigious youth tournament played in the United States every year. Because of the large number of international teams that travel to play, it is also one of the most highly regarded in the world.
The U-19 Gordon Jago Super Group is the most competitive bracket in the Dallas Cup tournament that ranges in age from U13-U19. Though the Dallas Cup has been played every year since its founding in 1980, the U19 Super Group category began competition in 1990. Nine countries have won this group..Brazilian clubs having won 12 of the 28 contested. The quality of player who competes in this tournament is evidenced by the fact that Dallas Cup alumni have gone on to play in over 430 World Cup matches.
In 2017 the FC Dallas U18’s won the Gordon Jago Super Group, only the second time a United States team has won the competition (Dallas Texans-Red won in 2006). The 2017 U19 Super Group was contested by 12 teams: Mexico (3), Brazil, England, United States (2), Canada, Germany, Israel (1). FC Dallas advanced from their group with wins over Everton FC (5-0) (group opener in the Cotton Bowl), Israel’s Maccabi Haifa F.C. (1-0) and a draw with C.F. Monterrey Rayados (1-1).
The competition moved to Toyota Stadium in Frisco where FCD then won its semifinal match 2-1 over Coritiba FC (a city 200 miles southwest from Sao Paulo, Brazil). The two Dallas goals would give any fan of soccer in the United States, who believes our players lack technical ability, serious hope for the future. On the first goal in the 80th minute, Jesus Ferreira played a ball off his chest at the edge of the box, waited for an angle to open up while his right back overlapped, and calmly placed the ball just inside the far post past the diving goalkeeper. Coritiba leveled in the 87th minute on a nice free-kick after FCD gave a foul just outside the box. It only took a minute for FCD to regain the lead, however, as Jesus Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal connected for a beautiful game-winning goal. Ferreira played a perfectly timed pass into the box to Pomykal who flicked the ball past the sprawling keeper. To get into position to execute his exquisite finish, Pomykal made the type of run that is seen often in Latin America, but rarely in U.S. youth soccer.
The Final was a rematch of the group stage match vs. CD Monterrey Rayados. In a repeat of the semifinal win, FCD gave up a late goal to tie up the match and then scored minutes later for the victory. Pomykal opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. After Monterrey went level in the 81st minute, Arturo Rodriquez scored from long distance in the 89th to allow FCD to be the first MLS Academy team to win the Dallas Cup. Though not scoring on the night, Ferreira was a driving force all over the field throughout the match.
The FC Dallas youth side had been bolstered by Ferreira, Pomykal and defender Reggie Cannon, three of it’s age appropriate Academy graduates, who were loaned back to the FCD Academy side from the first team for this tournament. The impact of these first team players was obvious. Ferreira scored four goals and Pomykal three in the tournament.
Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja, in an article by Jon Arnold in the Dallas Morning News, talked about why he supported his players returning to youth competition.
“The participation of Paxton, Reggie and Jesus in the Dallas Cup is a great step for them. First, because that’s basically the team that they’ve been playing with,” Pareja said. “Second, because it’s a time for them to bring the experiences that they have had during the past three, four months with the first team and implement it into the action of competition. You now have a good scenario for them to come in and perform. It’s great for them and good for the team and the club.”
This championship should not have come as a complete surprise, as the core of this team came from a group of players who won both the US Soccer Development Academy U15/16 and U17/18 Championships the previous summer. Many of the these players, including the three mentioned above who subsequently signed professional contracts, played a big part in the historic Dallas Cup victory for the FC Dallas Academy.
Photo credit: FC Dallas
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