FRISCO, Texas – The 42nd Dallas Cup took place around the DFW metroplex last week after a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19.
Return to Competition
After the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 edition, this year’s Dallas Cup was a welcome return to competition for youth soccer clubs from around the nation.
“It’s been a difficult year to begin with, we just haven’t had enough competitive games,” said Chris Hayden, VP of Youth Soccer for FC Dallas which was the host club for the tournament. “We were in a mode where our teams were playing one, two or three games a month and then you’re going into a tournament with four, five or six games in a week—that’s a lot different competition. But I think it was good to measure ourselves against teams from around the country who were coming here to get results.
“I was really pleased with the performances of our teams. Some of our teams advanced, but even in the games where we didn’t get results, I felt that we expressed ourselves well and controlled large potions of matches. Whether the result went our way or not I felt we really reinforced our style in all the age groups.
“I think it was a really good event, a positive event. The weather cooperated which I think helped. Overall, we’re happy and looking forward to where this event puts us for the remainder of the Spring.
FC Dallas Academy Crowned U-15 Champions
FC Dallas entered a total of 28 teams across the different age groups at the boys and girls levels. The FCD Academy U-15 team went all the way to become champions, beating San Diego Surf 4-0 in the final thanks to a hat trick from Kristian Kelly.
“More than anything, I’m just happy for the boys because there was such a long layoff with COVID in terms of being able to compete for something,” said Alex Aldaz, the U-15’s head coach. “We played a handful of games in the Fall and some in the Spring, but they haven’t competed for a trophy in over a calendar year.”
FCD’s U-15 team is largely the same squad that won the 2019 Dallas Cup together at the U-13 age bracket. Their achievement is a first for the FC Dallas Academy.
“One of the themes during our preparation was ‘let’s write history’ and that was something the boys really wanted to do,” Aldaz continued. “The Academy has such great tradition with a lot of wonderful players and excellent teams coming through, something that had never been done before is one age group year winning the Dallas Cup more than once. So I said, ‘Hey guys, if you really want to write your name in FC Dallas Academy history, this is a great opportunity to do so.’ It’s a motivated group so it didn’t take a lot of convincing.”
“It’s hard enough to win one Dallas Cup, so for some of those kids to be able to win it twice, I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Hayden added. “I think experiences build you, so when you’ve gone through tournaments and done well then I think it helps you keep perspective during a competition.”
Dallas Cup Girls Invitational
This year’s Dallas Cup also welcomed back girls’ divisions with the Dallas Cup Girls Invitational. For the past 24 years, the tournament was exclusively an all-boys competition but 2021 saw 28 teams enter the Girls Invitational which included the U-16 through U-19 age groups.
“I was really proud that the tournament added girls,” Hayden said. “They’ve had girls’ divisions in the past in the earlier days of the tournament and I always think it’s good for the city of Dallas. The city has always had really good female teams, teams that have gone on to win national championships. So, I was really happy that they added that division and our teams were able to participate. I’m also really happy that we were able to host it here at Toyota Soccer Center. We had three teams that made their finals so we’re really happy about that. But, we’re really proud of the way the tournament went off and proud of how our teams performed.”