Over the past four decades, several moments have helped shape the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup into the oldest and most prestigious international youth soccer tournament in the United States. Over the next several weeks, the Dallas Cup will embark on a mission to recount 40 of the most influential players, teams, and events in the tournament’s history to help celebrate four decades of excellence.
· One of the most storied soccer clubs in the world, Real Madrid, won back-to-back Super Group championships in 1993 and 1994. The teams featured Spanish soccer legend Raul and long-time, top-flight manager Rafael Benítez. Real Madrid is one of the most successful clubs in the history of the sport, winning a record 33 La Liga titles, and a record 13 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles.
· At the 2015 Dr Pepper Dallas Cup, one of world soccer’s legendary referees, Howard Webb, attended the tournament as a special guest and officiated one match. In 2010, he became the first referee to officiate the final of the UEFA Champions League and the World Cup in the same year. Through the years, over 20 referees with FIFA World Cup experience have officiated in the Dallas Cup, among them referee legend Abraham Klein of Israel, 1990 World Cup final referee Edgardo Codesal of Mexico, and most recently Matthew Conger of New Zealand.
Abraham Klein (pictured holding the ball) and Howard Webb at the Dallas Cup
· The Dallas Cup was founded by the Texas Longhorns Soccer Club in 1980 as a way for the club to return the friendship shown to their teams that had traveled throughout Europe. They won seven “Boot and Ball” championships throughout all age groups.
· In the late 80s, prestigious Bolivian academy Tahuichi dominated at the Dallas Cup. They won four straight U19 titles starting in 1987, including the inaugural Super Group title in 1990. Bolivian national team and MLS superstars Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno played for Tahuichi during their triumphant run.
· Brazil is the country with the most Super Group titles, winning 12, including back to back Super Group titles by EC Vitoria and SC Corinthians in 1996-1997 & 1999-2000, respectively. Other Brazilian Super Group champions include Cruzeiro, Sao Paulo, and SC Corinthians.
EC Vitoria celebrating at the Dallas Cup
· Two of the most decorated English soccer stars of all-time played in the Dallas Cup. David Beckham, who won six Premier League titles with Manchester United, played in the 1991 Dallas Cup with Essex County School Team during his first trip to the United States. England’s all-time leading scorer, Wayne Rooney, played in the 1999 Dallas Cup with Premier League academy Everton.
David Beckham’s 1991 Essex County School team
· Lake Highlands Stadium in Northeast Dallas hosted the tournament’s marquee events from 1981-2005. Due to the growth of the tournament, marquee tournament events moved to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco in 2006, and eventually to the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium starting in 2013.
· In 2004, CD Guadalajara “Chivas” brought a star-studded team to Dallas Cup that featured current Mexico National Team stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Carlos Vela. They hoisted the U16 “Boot and Ball” trophy that year.
· Past participants who did not continue their careers in soccer left their name in Dallas Cup history as well, including NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon (1981 Lagos Stars), NFL kickers Josh Lambo and Nick Folk, and even ABC’s popular television host Chris Harrison (1987 Dallas Comets).
· Since 2010, more than 20 Japanese teams have played in the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup. In 2017, the relationship with Japan came to the forefront as Maebashi FC won the country’s first “Boot and Ball” trophy.
· A trio of European stars competed in the Dallas Cup in the early 90s: Michael Owen (England) – 1992 Mid Wales Celtics, Raul (Spain) – 1994 Real Madrid, Pirlo (Italy) – 1990 US Voluntas
Andrea Pirlo and Raul both won Dallas Cup championships in 1990 and 1994, respectively.
· Liga MX side CF Monterrey is the club with the most Dallas Cup championships, claiming 16 titles across all age groups. Cross-town rival Tigres have played in the Dallas Cup 23 consecutive years, racking up 13 titles along the way, including the 2018, 2011, and 2003 Super Group.
· The Super Group finals in 1994 and 1995, and again in 1997 and 1998, were broadcast globally on ESPN International, allowing the Dallas Cup to receive extraordinary world-wide exposure. As a result, the 1998 tournament had 68 international teams taking part, a record number that was not surpassed until the 2018 and 2019 editions of the tournament.
· Brothers Giovanni and Jonathan dos Santos hoisted the U12 “Boot and Ball” championship trophy at the 2001 Dallas Cup with Mexico’s Sao Paulo Club. The duo now plays for the LA Galaxy in the MLS.
· Argentine twins Ramiro and Rogelio Funes Mori played in the 2008 Dallas Cup with North Texas club ASG Gold. Ramiro now plays for Villarreal in Spain, while Rogelio remains a top goal scoring threat for CF Monterrey in Liga MX.
· In the summer of 2002, DFW soccer icon, Gordon Jago, was hired as the Executive Director of the Dallas Cup. Alongside longtime tournament manager, Randy Jones, the duo steered the Dallas Cup for the next decade.
Former Executive Director Gordon Jago and Tournament Manager Randy Jones with Dallas Sidekicks legend Tatu at the 2003 Dallas Cup.
· In 2017, Univision Deportes Network nationally televised its first broadcasts of the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup, including the Super Group final. In 2018, the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup and Univision Deportes inked a landmark, five-year broadcast agreement that will provide unprecedented national coverage of the tournament for years to come.
· In four of the past five years, adidas and the Dallas Cup have put together a Dallas Cup all-star team from the U16 division. The teams have traveled to Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, playing in tournaments and friendly games, and taking part in intensive training along the way. Former Dallas Cup all-stars Paxton Pomykal and Mark Salas hope to represent the United States at this summer’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland. Click here to read more about the Dallas Cup all-stars.
2018 Dallas Cup all-stars in Brussels
· The Dallas Cup is supported by more than 1500 volunteers each year. Without their tireless work behind the scenes, the tournament would not be possible. On behalf of the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup, we are incredibly grateful to all of those who have volunteered over the past four decades.
· The Dallas Cup experience is more than just about competition at the highest level. Participants learn important life lessons with visits to children’s hospitals, advocacy centers, schools, and homeless shelters.
· At Dallas Cup IX in 1988, a momentous event took place as Pelé, arguably the greatest soccer player of all-time, attended the Dallas Cup as a special guest during the tournament’s Opening Ceremonies. During his playing days, Pelé won three World Cups with Brazil, and he remains the country’s all-time leading scorer. The presence of the Brazilian legend, one of the most recognizable faces in sports at the time, was a watershed moment for the Dallas Cup, as it symbolized the tournament’s rise in prominence in international youth soccer.
· Several top flight coaches also have ties to the Dallas Cup. Former manager of the Argentina and Colombia National Teams, José Pékerman, current Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, current manager of Celtic FC Brendan Rodgers, and 1899 Hoffenheim’s coach Julian Nagelsmann, all either coached or played in the Dallas Cup.
· In 1999, the U-17 USMNT featured Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, two iconic figures in US Men’s soccer history.
Landon Donovan (#20) and Damarcus Beasley (#3) at 1999 Dallas Cup
· Trailing only the United States, Mexico has the second most “Boot and Ball” championship trophies for a country across all age groups, accumulating 60 since 1982. Mexico’s National Team, both past and present, has always been well represented by Dallas Cup alumni. At the 2018 World Cup, tournament alumni including Jesus Corona, Carlos Salcedo, Andres Guardado, and Javier Hernandez played for El Tri.
· Manchester United, the most valuable club in world soccer, has a rich history at the Dallas Cup, including nine tournament appearances and a U12 championship in 1998. The 2018 United side, featuring promising young stars Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood, reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Gordon Jago Super Group in before bowing out to fellow Premier League side Arsenal.