Future Soccer Stars Compete in Dallas Cup

Thousands in town for nation's oldest youth soccer tournament

By Catherine Ross
|  Friday, Apr 6, 2012  |  Updated 6:22 PM CDT
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This is championship weekend at the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup and the best youth soccer players from around the country are in Frisco.

Catherine Ross, Collin County Reporter

This is championship weekend at the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup and the best youth soccer players from around the country are in Frisco.

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The future stars of the world's most popular sport could be getting scouted this weekend in Frisco.

The championship weekend of the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup at FC Dallas Stadium began Friday.

"There is so much talent here," said Jose Chavez, of Riverside, Calif., who traveled to North Texas for the event.

In its 33rd year, the Dallas Cup is arguably the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in North America -- if not the world.

"There's 150-some-odd teams, and those teams come from some 40 countries," said Chris Hayden, of FC Dallas.

Supporters say the tournament has grown dramatically over the past three decades. Many credit the growth to the emergence of international superstars from its former contenders.

"David Beckham played here as a youth player. Wayne Rooney played here as a youth player," Hayden said. "Lots of international stars have grown up and played here at Dallas Cup."

Those examples of success have young players such as Britton Jones, of Dallas, ready to play for college scouts and beyond.

"They'll know your name for the future," he said. "Like -- 'I saw you play back at the Dallas Cup. You're pretty good.'"

While players think about the future, the area around FC Dallas Stadium is also partly economically dependent on the success of the stadium -- even the popularity of soccer as a whole in North Texas.

"I think it definitely puts Frisco on the map as one of the hubs of soccer in North America and certainly in the Metroplex," Hayden said.

While young players say they've seen the sport grow in their short lifetimes, even if they don't make it big, many say there's a chance someone on the field will.

"I'll look back and be able to say -- I played against him," said Aksel Gerber of Dallas. "But hopefully I'll be playing."

Dallas Cup events are scheduled for the rest of the weekend. Semifinal games begin Friday night.

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