By: Luis Miguel Echegaray
The Prospects Cup, an international youth soccer tournament featuring some of the biggest teams in the world, will take place in Kissimmee, Florida, from December 18-22 and it will host 16 of the best U-12 teams from around the world.
This is the Cup’s inaugural tournament and includes the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Boca Juniors, AS Roma and Borussia Dortmund. The competition also includes eight teams based in the U.S. such as FC Dallas, Global Premier Soccer and Real Jersey FC.
U.S. men’s national team and Borussia Dortmund standout Christian Pulisic will be involved, using some of his Bundesliga winter break to be present at the tournament final as the official global ambassador for the tournament, which will be televised in Spanish on Univision Deportes. In addition, its nightly news program ‘Contacto Deportivo’ will showcase feature stories on the tournament, teams and its players.
“I think it’s a really good platform for a lot of young kids and show their abilities, challenge themselves against different competition from around the world,” said Pulisic, speaking exclusively to SI’s Grant Wahl during a Facebook Live event last month.
Aside from his obvious, close relationship with Dortmund, Pulisic’s father also used to coach Dortmund’s U-10 team, so the interest in the tournament is close to his heart.
“I know most of players in that team so I’m really excited to be a part of it,” he said.
The tournament takes the elements of a World Cup format: Eight groups (or pools, as they’re called in this particular case) of four teams. Pool A and B feature the domestic teams and Pool C and D the internationals. The group winners of each division (based upon cumulative points) will advance to the semifinal. The division runners-up will play in the consolation match, and the winners will compete for the title.
A domestic team can’t meet its international counterpart until the championship game.
From a U.S. soccer perspective, this is a great opportunity for American kids to test themselves against domestic and international counterparts while learning what it’s like to face a wide range of talent and coaching philosophies. Being one of the most popular sports in the U.S. from a participation perspective, the Prospects Cup is also a chance to enhance the cultural value of the game in the United States.
“It is not our role to prepare our youth for the world stage, but if our event can be helpful towards that end, terrific,” said Rick Alessandri, Executive Vice President for Enterpise Development at Univision, which is producing the event. “Our tournament is more than just about the end result. It is about the shared experiences these young athletes will enjoy and the new cultural learnings they will take back home.”
Source: Sports Illustrated