The Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup Super Group is about as big as it gets when it comes to youth club tournaments in North America. This year Toronto FC will be sending an academy team to the events Super Group for the first time ever which means getting the chance to take on the big boys and potentially play in the Cotton Bowl.
The Gordon Jago Super Group is made up of 12 teams representing some of the top club's from around the World. The Super Group is for U19 teams but the Dallas Cup is home to groups for a variety of ages from U-13 all the way up to the Super Group.
This years field is headlined by the likes of Manchester United, Fulham, Coritiba FC, and Eintracht Frankfurt with a total of eight different countries represented. It is an impressive group for Toronto FC to even be included in as they are one of only two MLS teams that will contest the Super Group this year. The other MLS club that got the invite this year is the L.A. Galaxy.
The format for the tournament is simple. The 12 team Super Group is sub-divided into three brackets of four teams each. The top team from each bracket along with the best second place team move on to the semi-finals which will be held at the Cotton Bowl. The finals and several of the bigger group stage games will also be held at the large stadium but with none of TFC's group stage games making the cut the only way they will be able to play in the Bowl is by reaching the knockout round.
To reach that stage they will have to get past a group that consists of teams from Fluminense, Aalborg BK, and Tigres. It will certainly be a tricky group as it consists of top clubs from Brazil, Denmark, and Mexico but TFC should be able to hold their own considering that in recent years they have consistently proven to have some of the strongest academy teams in MLS.
The full brackets for the Super Group are as follows:
Manchester United (England)
Kashiwa Reysol (Japan)
Club America (Mexico)
Dallas Texans (USA)
Coritiba FC (Brazil)
Fulham FC (England)
Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
LA Galaxy Academy (USA)
Aalborg BK (Denmark)
Toronto FC (Canada)
The tricky part for TFC will be the timing of the event. It runs from March 24th through until the final on the 31st which means it overlaps with the AEGON Future Cup which runs from March 30th-April 1st. The Future Cup in Holland is a U17 event so the younger academy players will be there but they also have the CONCACAF U17 Championships to think about which get under way on April 6th in Panama.
It looks like it will be a busy end to March and start to April for the top players in Toronto FC's academy as the club will be sending teams to two very prestigious events along with likely sending a fair few players to represent Canada. With the overlapping it is clear the top young players who be able to go to all three events but even getting to take part in one of these events will be good experience for the players.