The FC Dallas Way: Proper preparation
FRISCO -- Two FC Dallas Youth teams returned to Frisco as champions last week after competing in the Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma in Orlando, Fla. The FC Dallas 96 Boys Premier team and the FC Dallas 97 Blue team won their respective groups at the Showcase, which featured some of the top youth clubs from across the country.
Both sides are set to compete in Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXIV this spring, and coaches saw the Disney Showcase as a great way to prepare for the challenge of facing unfamiliar opponents at a high-profile tournament.
96 Boys Premier
WATCH: 96 Boys Premier Championship Highlights
The 96 Boys Premier team started the tournament with a 1-1 draw against North Carolina's NC Alliance. The next day the side thrashed Downtown United SC White of New York 5-0 and ended bracket play the following day with a 3-1 win over Indiana's Carmel United SC Elite.
In the group championship match, FC Dallas defeated Maryland's OBGC Soccer Rangers 1-0 on a goal scored by forward Morgan Dizney.
The 96 Boys Premier team qualified for this year's Dallas Cup by finishing first in the Dallas Classic League last fall, and head coach Scott Dymond said the Disney Showcase gave his team a taste of what Dallas Cup will be like.
"They needed to be put in an environment where if you didn’t work and do the right things consistently you would fail," said Dymond. "As much as coaches try to create those elements of pressure in practice, the game brings it out so much more. It was great to see the team step up to that challenge."
WATCH: 97 Blue Championship Highlights
Head coach Jesse Suarez's 97 Blue team qualified for Dallas Cup by winning the Bobby Rhine Invitational presented by MoneyGram last November and his players put another big win under their belts by winning the Disney Showcase.
Like the Premier team, the 97s started off with a draw in their first match after playing Wisconsin's United FC to a 2-2 draw. Suarez's squad then posted back-to-back shutouts, beating FC Florida 1-0 the next day and Maryland's ASA Milan Black Hawks 3-0 the day after that to win their bracket.
The 97 Blue team faced Concorde Fire Elite of Georgia in the group championship match. Sergio Lara and Adam Gutierrez each scored a brace in that game and Livano Salas tacked on a fifth for FC Dallas to secure the 5-2 championship win.
Suarez said the quality of play at the Disney Showcase made it a great means of preparation for Dallas Cup.
"If not the same, the Disney Showcase has a very similar level of play as Dallas Cup," Suarez said. "The boys got to really see that they need to prepare themselves each and every day if they want to be able to compete in these types of tournaments."
The 96 Boys Premier team and the 97 Blue team are just two of 13 FC Dallas squads currently scheduled to participate in Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXIV, which will take place March 24-31 at Richland College and UTD in Dallas.