FRISCO - The squads may change, but the goals remain the same. The FC Dallas U-16s are headed into Generation adidas Cup with their sights on winning it.
Last year, the FC Dallas U-16s made it all the way to the semifinals of the Generation adidas cup, defeating Athletic Bilbao, Pumas and Real Salt Lake before falling in heartbreaking fashion on penalty kicks to Eintracht Frankfurt. The loss motivated that team all the way to winning the USSDA National Championship in July.
This season, the U-16s have enjoyed plenty of success in the league and Generation adidas Cup qualifying with a combined 20-3-0 record, but they know that tournaments like this are where the best are separated.
"It’s very important and one of our highlights of the season," said Academy Director and U-16 head coach Luchi Gonzalez. "It starts early in October with our qualifiers so that we can be in the Champions division for GA Cup which is in our home and it’s just a lot of pride. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of this tournament. It’s on our home soil, a lot of pride and to see where we’re at and how we’re measured against the rest of the world."
Going 5-1-0 in qualifying, FC Dallas has earned a spot in the Champions Division and their group certainly reflects it. FCD will open the tournament with Spanish giants Valencia CF on Friday before facing Toronto FC on Sunday and the Mexico U-17 National Team on Tuesday. It's a tough test but FCD is ready for it.
"We have to take it game by game and give it all," said midfielder Jommar Reyes. "It's about improving our concepts in the game and executing what we’ve been doing in training for this tournament."
It's easy to get caught up in wins and losses, but ultimately the Academy strives to produce players for the first team and these international competitions are a cornerstone of FC Dallas player development.
"We learn how to play faster, how they play, how to apply it to our style and get even faster with our play," said forward Jesus Ferreira.
"We can’t develop pros without a team dynamic, but this is about helping certain individuals play in the stadium one day," said Gonzalez. "You learn what guys can handle [different things] and it’s the true test. We’re excited as a staff, we’ve been preparing well."
Admission to GA Cup games through the semifinal is free and all FC Dallas fans are invited to come out and support the next generation.
|U-16 GA Cup Opponent||Date/Time||Location|
|vs Valencia CF(Spain)||Friday, March 25 - 6:00PM||Toyota Soccer Center Field #4|
|vs Toronto FC||Sunday, March 27 - 3:00PM||Toyota Soccer Center Field #6|
|vs Mexico U-17 National Team||Tuesday, March 29 - 3:00PM||Toyota Soccer Center Field #7|
|GA Cup Semifinals||Thursday, March 31 - TBD||Toyota Stadium|
|GA Cup Final||Saturday, April 2 - TBD||Toyota Stadium|