For more than three decades, the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup has brought the best young talent from around the world to North Texas to compete in the most prestigious youth soccer tournament the United States has to offer. David Beckham, Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Robinho, Wayne Rooney and Clint Dempsey are just a handful of today's international superstars who have taken part in the competition as teenagers. Last year, we here at FCDallas.com chose five standout players from the Gordon Jago Super Group that showed the potential to make it big. With a stacked Super Group at this year's tournament littered with age-eligible professionals, here are six names you should know from Dallas Cup XXXIII.
Richard Sanchez (FC Dallas Goalkeeper)
Call it a homer pick, call it a softball pick, call it a no-brainer. There's no denying the pedigree Sanchez brought to the table heading into Dallas Cup XXXIII. The 'keeper became FCD's youngest Homegrown player when he signed a professional contract in February of 2011 at the age of 16. That summer he backstopped Mexico's National Team to a U-17 World Cup championship, playing the final in front of nearly 100,000 fans in Mexico City's Estadio Azteca to become the first American-born player to win a Men's World Cup.
Since then, Sanchez has been in and out of various Youth National Team camps with El Tri and has spent time in England training with Chelsea. Despite the fact that FC Dallas didn't make it out of the group stage, Sanchez had a strong showing at this year's tournament. He posted two shutouts out of the three matches his team played, and the only two goals he surrendered were scored by players who have already made their debuts with the Manchester United first team.
The Keane brothers (Manchester United)
The two goals that got past Sanchez were scored by twin brothers Michael and William Keane. The Keanes joined the Manchester United Academy in 2009 and have since worked their way up to the Reserve squad. The duo accounted for four of the Red Devils' 11 goals at Dallas Cup XXXIII.
Michael made his debut with Manchester's Reserves in April of 2010, helped the Academy side win the FA Youth Cup in 2011, and made his first team debut last October in a 3-0 Carling Cup win at Aldershot. The young defender has represented the Republic of Ireland at the youth levels, but has since chosen to represent England at the international level. He scored United's second goal in a 2-0 win over FC Dallas last week, and scored the team's lone goal as they fell to Coritiba FC 2-1 in the Super Group championship last Sunday.
Michael's brother William has also already made his professional debut, coming on for Rafael in the 85th minute of a 3-2 loss to Blackburn in EPL play at Old Trafford back in December. He was the top scorer at the Academy level when Manchester won the 2011 FA Youth Cup and was called up by England's Under-21 side for the first time in November of 2011. William also scored two goals at the tournament this year, notching his first against FC Dallas and his second against California's Santa Clara Sporting.
Ross Barkley (Everton FC Midfielder)
Barkley is another player with an impressive international pedigree. He's scored four goals for England's youth teams, two at the U-16 level and two at the U-17 level. He's made four appearances with England's U-21s since September of 2011. On the club side, Barkley has been tied to Everton since 2005. In his first year with the Academy in 2010 he debuted in the Reserves' season-opener, scoring the side's lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. He signed a professional contract with the team in December of 2010 at the age of 17. After recovering from a triple leg break while on international duty, Barkley made his professional debut in August of 2011 and was named Man of the Match in Everton's 1-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers.
Barkley has made eight appearances for Everton this season, making four starts and notching one assist in that time. At this year's Dallas Cup the midfielder helped his side advance to the Super Group semifinals, scoring three group stage goals against Coritiba FC, Kashiwa Reysol and Club Bolivar, respectively. The only match he didn't score in was the Blues' 2-0 semifinal loss to Manchester United.
Thiago Coelho (Coritiba FC Goalkeeper)
Coelho signed an amateur contract with Coritiba in March of 2010, and backstopped the club to its first Dallas Cup Super Group championship last Sunday. The young 'keeper only gave up four goals in five games played, and only let in one goal against a Manchester United side that had scored 10 goals in its previous four matches. Coelho made several key saves in the final against United and his play caught the eye of Dallas Cup Executive Director Gordon Jago, for whom the prestigious Super Group is named.
Jose Vivian (Coritiba FC Midfielder)
Vivian signed a contract with Coritiba in April of 2010 that runs through December 31 of this year. The midfielder wore the highly-regarded Number 10 for Coritiba, an honor not granted lightly by Brazilian clubs. Vivian lived up to expectations, leading the championship-winning side in scoring with four goals in the tournament, including the game-winner against Manchester United. Coritiba's win made Brazilian teams 6-0 in Dallas Cup Super Group championships over the last decade. Unfortunately for the club, Vivian won't be age-eligible when Coritiba returns to Dallas in 2013 to defend their title at Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXIV.