The Dallas Cup is a world-wide tournament and one of the most prestigious in the United States. There are few qualifying tournaments around that country that you must win to earn an automatic bid, otherwise it is an invitation only tournament where roughly 30 teams per age group come to compete and represent their clubs from all over the world. The Dallas Cup has hosted teams from 47 states in the US and over 100 countries across 6 continents. In 2018, there were 224 teams from 9 age groups that competed. The age brackets were: U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U18, U19 and U19 Gordon Jago Super Group. Over the years, many professional players have participated in this prestigious tournament including David Beckham, Clint Dempsey, Chicharito, Landon Donovan, Raul, Michael Bradley, Wayne Rooney, Kleberson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Giovani dos Santos, and Brian McBride, to name a few. In fact, Dallas Cup alumni have gone on to play in over 430 World Cup matches.
The 05 FC Wichita Academy team was invited to the tournament after placing 2nd in a qualifying tournament in November. The 05 boys entered the tournament ranked 27th out of 28 teams and were placed in the bracket with the #3 ranked team in the country- the Dallas Kicks Selecao, who had beaten them 5-0 in the November Finals of the 2017 Dallas Texans Fall Festival. A select team made up of 3 teams from the South Carolina Battery Organization, called the Charleston Battery SC, were also in the group, as well as Delfines CFIM S.D. from Mexico. All three of these teams were ranked higher than the 05 FC Wichita team.
The first match of the tournament had 05 FC WICHITA Academy against Delfines CFIM S.D. out of Monterrey, Mexico. The match started out with FC WICHITA scoring the first two goals and looking to blow over Delfines. However, the second half looked a little different, with Delfines taking control of the game and dominated, scoring 2 unanswered goals to tie the game. With minutes left in the game and still tied, FC Wichita scored the go-ahead goal. Delfines continued to pressure until the final whistle but came up short with the game ending 3-2 in favor of the 05 FC Wichita boys.
The second match on Day 2 the 05 FC Wichita boys played Charleston Battery SC, who were coming off a 4-0 loss to the Dallas Kicks the day prior. From the first whistle, FC WICHITA was in complete control. It appeared as though The Battery players were lacking chemistry and just couldn’t put a string of passes together. The South Carolina team fought hard but weren’t able to get a goal against the 05 FC WICHITA team, ending the game with a 2-0 loss. The 05 FC Wichita boys found out shortly after their win that the Dallas Kicks also won their match against Delfines, meaning the final round of pool play would be two undefeated teams, winner takes the bracket, loser prays for the wild card.
On Day 3 of the tournament, the 05 FC WICHITA faced the Dallas Kicks Selecao. The FC Wichita boys wanted this match up because they felt they had something to prove since the beating they had taken back in November. The game stated out with Dallas Kicks Selecao scoring within the first 6 minutes and moving the ball very well. Late in the first half FC WICHITA was fouled outside the box giving them a free kick, scoring high over the keeper’s head, tying the game right before halftime. Only a few minutes into the second half, Dallas scored again take the lead 2-1. The game went back and forth for the remaining 30 –some minutes, with many missed opportunities on both sides. Late in the game FC WICHITA scored the equalizing goal on a counter attack. Dallas gave their all for the last 5 minutes but were unable to break through the defense and the game ended in a draw, 2-2. The FC Wichita boys would’ve loved the win but were very happy with the tie against the #3 ranked team in the nation. That tie gave Dallas the top seed of the bracket because of goal differential but FC Wichita won the wild card spot to advance.
In the Quarter Finals, the 05 FC WICHITA boys were matched up against Albion SC DA from San Diego, California. Albion took an early lead but FC WICHITA answered back to go into halftime tied. Unfortunately, the second half was ugly. Albion took complete control of the game causing FC WICHITA to park the bus and wait for a counter attack and in doing so, Albion scored two more goals to lead the game 3-1. With very few minutes left, a foul at the top of the box gave 05 FC WICHITA some hope as a free kick was awarded and scored on. Although that goal gave life to FC WICHITA and they had multiple shots on goal following, they came up short in the end and were defeated 3-2. This was their first loss in this tournament but that’s all it took. It was a whirlwind and all at once, it was over.
Overall the team had an amazing experience playing the best U13 teams from across the country and all over the world. The fact that they were even invited to this tournament was in itself remarkable, considering the last Wichita team to make an appearance was nearly 20 years ago. They performed at an extremely high level and represented Wichita well, hopefully paving the way for other Wichita teams in the future. Their parents and supporters couldn’t be more proud of what they accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds.