Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXVII

*** Scroll down for updates ***

If you're into soccer, you probably know that Dallas -- my former hometown -- hosts the world youth soccer tournament every year.

This year, the Iraqi youth soccer team is playing in the tournament. So far, they've won two games and they have a very good chance to qualify for the quarterfinals. The Dallas Morning News reports:

FRISCO - The Iraq under-14 national soccer team closed in on a spot in the elimination round of the Dallas Cup with a 6-0 win over Maristas Monterrey [of Mexico] in bracket play Tuesday.
A win or a tie assures a trip to the quarterfinals. Even with a loss, Iraq could advance to Thursday's quarterfinals because of tiebreaker rules based on goals scored.


The team members are being treated as celebrities by the media. The Star-Telegram reported on Saturday:

The Iraq under-14 national soccer team gathered Friday for a news conference at the Hotel Intercontinental in advance of the Dallas Cup, which begins Sunday.-
Before the posed pictures with mayors and tournament directors or the translated interviews, the teenagers gathered outside. There, comfortably, they were typical youngsters. They laughed as they tried to one-up each other in soccer tricks.


On Monday, they won their first game against Chicago's team. There was a lot of joy and pride among the Iraqi players after they won the game:

After the victory Monday, the Iraqi players took turns parading an Iraqi flag around the field. Eventually they came to midfield, where two players held the flag as the rest of the team danced in a circle and shouted in an Arabic chant, "God and the Prophet Mohammed are supporting us. They are with us."


Please wish the team good luck during their next game(s).

UPDATE April 13, 2006

Click here for photos of the Iraqi team and their host families.

Click here to watch a video of the Iraqi team and their host families.

UPDATE April 14, 2006
The team lost Friday's game. The Dallas Morning News reports:

FRISCO - The Iraq under-14 national soccer team’s run in the Dallas Cup came to a sudden end Thursday, losing to Cobb FC Premier of Georgia, 2-1, in overtime.

A crowd of about 200 people, many of them Iraqis, lined one side of the playing field, singing and chanting throughout the game. At the end, they carried some of tdisappointedted Iraqi players off the field.


I'm not disappointed. They did great considering the difficult situation in Iraq.

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