Executive Director Gordon Jago and Tournament Manager Randy Jones received notification today that Clube Atletico Paranaense (Atletico PR) of Brazil has accepted their invitation to participate in the Super Group during the Silver Anniversary edition of the Dallas Cup. Dallas Cup XXV will take place April 4 through April 11, 2004.
Jago and Jones received the call from Miguel De Lima, a long time friend of the Dallas Cup who has been instrumental in coordinating the participation of numerous teams from Brazil over the years. Atletico was established in 1924 and is one of Brazils oldest clubes. They are known throughout Brazil and the soccer world as having one of the premier youth development programs and their training methods have produced many young men to go on to a professional career says De Lima. He adds, Kleberson, a Brazilian 2002 World Cup player and recently signed by Manchester United for a reported $9.0 million transfer fee, came from Atleticos training program.
During a recent Dallas Cup, a young American player from the Virginia area by the name of Michael Banner caught the eye of Miguel while participating with his youth club at the Dallas Cup. Miguel recommended Banner to Atletico and he is now playing with Atleticos professional team. Michael is the first American born player to be signed by a Brazilian professional team, states Jago.
Atletico joins Leeds United of England and Tigres of Mexico as confirmed teams for the Super Group and the tournament is still four months away. On-going discussions with top clubs from Germany, Argentina, Costa Rica and more are expected to be finalized in the very near future states Jones. The younger age groups are looking very promising as well with Manchester United of England leading the way in the Under 12 group. The younger age groups will have top teams from Australia, Colombia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, England, South Africa and Venezuela to name a few continues Jones.