Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2010) - On Saturday, January 23rd, D.C. United’s Under 17 Academy team will travel to South Africa to participate in the 2010 Gauteng Future Championships. This elite international competition features twelve youth clubs from five different continents, with United arriving as the only North American representative.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our academy players. One of the most important things for a young player to experience is competition against top teams and top players, and our trip to South Africa will provide a quality environment for our kids,” said United Director of Youth Development John Maessner.
Maessner continues, “The tournament organizers wanted representation from around the globe that mirrors the diversity of the upcoming 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We are proud to represent North America and we look forward to taking on some very strong club opposition next week.”
Like the 2010 World Cup, the Gauteng Future Championships is a competition that begins with a group phase and progresses to a knockout round. There are three groups of four teams, with United placed in Group B alongside Paris Saint Germain, SuperSport Tottenham Hotspur, and K-Stars. The tournament is set to begin on Monday, January 25th, at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.
United open the tournament against France’s Paris Saint-Germain, one of the most respected names in French football and a club that has a strong history of player development. Next, United square off against Zambia’s K-Stars before the final match of group play against South African side SuperSport United. Official academy partners of Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League), SuperSport’s senior team has won back-to-back ABSA Premiership titles in South Africa.
Group A is composed of two other South African squads, Kaizer Chiefs and SAFA Tshwane, with Ireland’s Team Dublin and China’s Shandong Luneng rounding out the group. Group C is made up of South Africa’s SAFA Johannesburg, Esperance of Tunisia, Brazilian side Botafogo, and Mumbai Challengers from India.
The group stage matches will take place between January 25th and January 27th, with the knockout round scheduled for January 29th - January 30th. Should United advance to the final that match will be played at 4:15 PM local time on January 30th.
Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa)
SAFA Tshwane (SA)
Team Dublin (Ireland)
Shandong Luneng (China)
SuperSport United (SA)
Paris Saint-Germain (France)
D.C. United (USA)
SAFA Johannesburg (SA)
Mumbai Challengers (India)
D.C. United Academy’s schedule:
Monday, Jan. 25: Paris Saint-Germain vs. D.C. United
Tuesday, Jan. 26: D.C. United vs. K-Stars
Wednesday, Jan. 27: SuperSport United vs. D.C. United
Jan. 29 - Jan. 30: Knockout round and finals
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