VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that Whitecaps Residency will compete in the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXIX in March 2008 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Dallas. The Whitecaps have entered the Super Group (U-19) division, matching up against international U-19 sides including Liverpool FC of England, Sao Paulo FC of Brazil, SL Benfica of Portugal, and CD Guadalajara (Chivas) of Mexico. “The Dallas Cup is one of the highest-calibre youth events in North America, and attracts some of the best U-19 competitors in the world,” said Vancouver Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi. “We are extremely pleased to participate in the tournament, and to have the opportunity to test our Residency players, as well as showcase their talents against top international sides.”First held in 1980, the Dallas Cup is one of world soccer’s most prestigious youth tournaments, with numerous clubs invited to compete each year.In 2007, Dallas Cup XXVIII held seven tournaments in the U-12 to U-19 age groups, with the U-19 Super Group being the tournament’s marquee competition. The Dallas Cup Super Group tournament has seen U-19 sides from some of the world’s most famous clubs participate in its 27-year history. They include European clubs AC Milan, Ajax, Aston Villa, Chelsea, and Eintracht Frankfurt; Mexican outfits Club Universidad Nacional AC (UNAM Pumas) and Club América; as well as Costa Rican giants Deportivo Saprissa. Canada’s history in the Dallas Cup Super Group includes tournament victories by NSL Select in 1983 and 1984, as well as representation by Canada’s U-18 national team in 2005. The Super Group has also featured some of world soccer’s top stars in the formative stages of their career. The likes of David Beckham, Raul, Landon Donovan, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Harry Kewell, Rafael Marquez, and Michael Carrick are all past participants. Even retired NBA basketball star Hakeem Olajuwon featured as a player in the Dallas Cup. Joining the Whitecaps as first-time participants in the 2008 Super Group are the 2007 US Youth Soccer national boys champion Andromeda SC of Dallas, Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC of England, Ryutsu Keizai University FC of Japan, and FK Slavija Sarajevo of Bosnia & Herzegovina.This year will also see a number of returning teams, including two-time champions Sao Paulo FC, SL Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany, as well as Mexican clubs CF Monterrey, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) Tigres, and Chivas Guadalajara. The tournament features approximately 180 teams from around the United States and the world in age groups U-13 to U-19, with teams competing from March 16 to 23, 2008. Additional information about the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup can be found at dallascup.com.Vancouver Whitecaps FC ResidencyVancouver Whitecaps FC Residency is a full-time program dedicated to developing North America’s top youth players in Vancouver. The program allows elite youth players from U-17 to U-19 to achieve professional opportunities with the Whitecaps men’s team and world-class European clubs using the European club model of identification, development and placement.Although the player development program is in its inaugural year, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency is quickly making a name for itself in the soccer community. The roster totals 16 young stars from across Canada, including 11 members from Canada’s U-17 national team, as well as the Jamaican under-17 national team captain. In a recent trip to Germany, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency showed well against some of the top youth teams in the German football league system, including Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart. The program has also seen success in exhibition matches against domestic universities and local top-level senior men’s teams, and recently announced the formation of a United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) team for the 2008 season. Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency will be the first professional side to compete in the 67-team PDL.Thomas Niendorf, Head Coach and Managing Director of Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency, is well documented for his achievement of placing England international Owen Hargreaves with FC Bayern Munich and Canadian national team members Kevin McKenna with FC Energie Cottbus and Tamandani Nsaliwa with FC Nürnberg; all three clubs play in Germany’s Bundesliga.For more information on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, visit whitecapsfc.com.
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