Two of the biggest youth tournaments that are played in the United States have come to an end this weekend after an exciting week of soccer. FC Dallas had several teams at youth level representing the club in these competitions, from the U12s up to the U18s, that got the opportunity to test themselves with some of the best teams in the world. Below is an overview of how each of them did in their specific age groups.
U13: The 2003 Premier boys won two out of their three games, but a 1-0 reverse against Chicago Magic PSG in the second match proved to be their undoing with the boys from Illinois moving on as group winners. Chicago eventually ended up losing by the same scoreline in the semifinals at the hands of Dallas Texans' Solar Chelsea team. Clearly, Dallas teams got each other's backs.
U14: Three FCD teams competed in this age group, with the 2002 Central team going farthest albeit ending the tournament in defeat with a 1-0 loss to FC Los Angeles in the final. The 2002 Premier team also went out by the same score to the same team in the quarterfinals after going 3-0-0 in the group phase without conceding a goal. Last but not least, the U13 Academy team suffered the same fate as the aforementioned 2003 Premier team with a 3-2 defeat in the second game to FC Golden State costing them a knockout spot.
U15: Three teams were also present here, although none went on to make it to the final. In fact, only the U14 Academy got out of their group before losing to eventual runners-up Tigres 2-1 in the quarterfinals. The 2001 Premier boys recorded four points, including a credible 1-1 draw witth eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, but that obviously wasn't enough for them to progress. The 2001 boys started well with a win, but two 1-0 losses saw them also bow out early.
U16: Two, technically three, teams competed in this age group and not one managed to get past the group stage. The U15 Academy were the closest, just missing out on a quarterfinal berth on goal difference after winning two of their three matches. The 2000 Premier team were undefeated but went out as they produced one draw too many while the Paso del Norte team from El Paso went out with two defeats following an opening game victory.
U17: The 1999 Premier team made it to the quarterfinals here before going out in a 1-0 defeat to New York SC who went to win the whole thing while the 1999 Gold boys went out agonizingly with a narrow 2-1 loss on the last day of the group stage to TSF Academy. Not one FCD representative took part in the Super U17s Group.
U19: Finally, we had the U18 Academy reach their first semifinal since 2011 but the journey ended there in a 3-1 defeat to Everton who went on to win their first Dallas Cup last night. The 1998 Premier team were unlucky not to get through the group phase despite racking up seven points with a 12-3 goal difference in the process.
Generation adidas Cup:
The U16 Academy ended up making it to the semifinals in the Championship Division after beating Valencia and Mexico U-17 en route to getting there, but a last minute 2-1 loss to Universidad de Chile meant that their adventure ended there.
So in the end, six out of fourteen teams across both cups made it to the latter stages this year with one going on to lose a final, two exiting in the semifinals, and the other three going out in the quarterfinals which is the first knockout round of the Dallas Cup.
Overall, it was probably the best performance that FCD youth teams have put up collectively in these tournaments since 2011 which surely says something about the quality in these squads and that maybe the next Victor Ulloa or Kellyn Acosta lies somewhere in there. At a club where youth does get a chance to show what they can do in the first team, their impressive displays against international teams over the last week does raise some expectations on them and eyes will be on them as they develop over the next few years. If they continue on their current trajectories, who knows, we may even see some of them don the red-and-white hoops of the first team one day.