In March of 2009, a young man made a long journey "over the pond" to participate in the prestigious Dr Pepper Dallas Cup Youth International Soccer Tournament with his team. His goal was to represent his club, SC Cambuur a professional Dutch soccer club headed by Mr. Alex Pama, the first Dutch-American General Manager within European soccer leagues. Alex and Tournament Manager Randy Jones have been good friends for many years. Under Alex’s direction, the club’s management quickly established a good relationship with the tournament staff. Thus, the club is making it an annual team trip so its young players can compete against some of the world’s other top clubs, enjoy magnificent Texas hospitality and participate in the wonderful “Dallas Cup Experience”.
Bjorn de Hoop was lucky to make a Dallas Cup trip with SC Cambuur while playing in the U19 age group for the second year in a row. Among numerous unforgettable cultural, educational and personal adventures which set the Dallas Cup experience apart from any other competition in North America, the tournament itself is also a college coaches and professional scouts recruiting heaven. Bjorn’s excellent performance, effort and attitude caught eyes of some American college coaches this time. After the round play, several colleges expressed serious interests in the "#5". At first, Bjorn was not aware of the magnitude of the situation. However, American parents probably understand and most likely it is one of their many dreams to see their kids play a sport at a Division I college level on an athletic scholarship. To Bjorn, because of inadequate knowledge of the American student/athletics concept, it did not mean much at first. However, upon returning to the Netherlands and further discussions with his family and friends he realized that he could live the next four years in America, the land of opportunities, and still pursue his ultimate professional soccer goal. It was interesting for me to see from cultural soccer perspective how players would react when initially presented with an opportunity to even travel to Dallas and participate in the great event. Some of the first questions asked were based around the reward system for winning a tournament such as monetary prize and value of it, which in European tournament competition is not unusual. In Bjorn’s case, though his team hasn’t won finals of their competition, his individual effort was to be awarded in a way he has never imagined. Two weeks following his return to the Netherlands he went back to the US, only this time to make an official visit to St. John’s University, the college which offered him a great financial package. Thus, over the intense summer (and just to put it into a perspective, usually a foreign student aspiring to study in the US is to plan year and a half ahead of time to complete the process) he worked extremely hard to bridge the gap between the school he was attending at the time in the Netherlands, the St. John’s University and the NCAA Clearing House. Going back to a reward, it is a "ticket" to play for one of the top soccer programs in the country over the next few years.
He hopes to one day become a professional soccer player while completing his university education. The benefits of attending such an event are enormous for any player and it was the Dallas Cup that made it possible for Bjorn to play, study, and live in the Big Apple.
This “Dallas Cup Experience” is written by Sevy Sucurovic, delegation leader for SC Cambuur of the Netherlands.
(You can follow Bjorn de Hoop and his progress in the US by visiting St John’s athletics website http://redstormsports.cstv.com/ )