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Soccer teams from around the world gather on the Cotton Bowl field at the opening ceremony of the Dallas Cup on March 24. Photo by Stephanie Alexander

By Stephanie Alexander, BubbleLife Intern

Selected youth soccer teams all over the world have been invited to come to the DFW area for the 33rd annual Dallas Cup.

The teams involved range from 12- and 13-year-olds from Costa Rica to 18- and 19-year-olds from Great Britain. There are a total of 13 different countries and hundreds of teams playing in this tournament.

Coppell High School sophomore Alec Reynolds plays for the U15 Pre Academy team for the Dallas Texans club. It is the team’s first year at the tournament and some of the players are fairly nervous.

“I’m very nervous to play Mexico because that is their national sport and they are very good,” Reynolds said. “This is a big college recruitment tournament as well. I've emailed a ton of colleges to come watch me play, and there will be even more scouts on top of that. I don't want to screw up on anything or give a bad first impression.”

Mexico is only one of the teams that Reynolds is aware of playing. There are scheduled games, and those games determine which teams go to the semifinals and so on.

“We are basically just showing up and playing,” Reynolds said. “As every team has their ups and downs, we should still be able to hold our own.”

Coppell Middle School East eighth-grader Alex Haas also plays for the Dallas Texans on the U14 team 99Red. It is the team’s second year in the Dallas cup, and Haas is less than anxious.

“I know that the UK team is good, but I’m not afraid,” Haas said. “They will be the first team we play, but rather than being nervous I’m just wondering what plays they’ll make and what they do differently.”

Even though this is the Haas family’s second Dallas Cup, this is the first year that they are housing players from a different country.

“We are very excited about hosting a team from our neighboring country of Mexico,” mother Elizabeth Haas said. “I’m anxious about the language barrier. I’m the one in the house that knows the least Spanish, but I’m managing with Google Translate and my kids.”

The Haas’ are housing two players from the Tigres club of Monterrey, Mexico. They are in the same age group as Alex.

“Being in the same group is essential so all the boys feel comfortable and have more in common with each other,” Elizabeth Haas said.

This is quite an experience for such a young player.

“The Dallas Cup is a good way to prepare and experience more diverse types of games,” Alex Haas said. “I’m excited about using the Spanish I learn at school to my life and learning more about culture and communication.”

The Dallas Cup games are played at the University of Texas at Dallas and Richland Community College. The big final games will be played at the Cotton Bowl. The tournament runs through Sunday, March 31.