The IMG Academy soccer program U-17 and U-19 boys are in Texas competing for a Dallas Cup title. The oldest international youth soccer tournament in the nation, the Dallas Cup attracts some of the top team from around the world. The U-19s won the tournament in 2005 and 2007. Alums of the tournament include Michael Owen, David Beckham, Raul, Landon Donovan, Wayne Rooney, Maicon and many others.
Observations from Sunday:
* The mohawk is the Unofficial Haircut of the Dallas Cup. Nearly every other player at Sunday's opening ceremony had a heavily gelled, streamlined spike down the middle of their head.
* Telltale sign #1 that a soccer tournament is in town: Every eating establishment has patrons wearing matching warm-up suits (or a soccer ball sits on top of the bar, as was the case at a Mexican restaurant near Pizza Hut Park.
* If teams can get fans to fill them, more soccer-only stadiums are an excellent way to help grow the sport in America. Pizza Hut Park is clean, fan-friendly, small enough to feel close to the action and big enough to add prestige. Very impressive.
* Telltale sign #2 that a soccer tournament is in town: Every traffic light is filled with cars featuring the sticker of their child's club team on the back windshield.
* IMG Academy soccer program's Martin Ontiveros should run for public office in his home state. The Texas native -- and former Lonestars club player -- knew someone everywhere he went.
* Bring the flag of every nation participating in the Dallas Cup out on the field? Very cool. Inviting all of the participating clubs onto the field for a hula hoop contest? Not so much.
* The U-20 U.S. National Team vs. U-2o Mexico National Team had an IMG connection. Two of the U.S. team's back line consisted of IMG Academy soccer program alums (and current Akron stars) Zarek Valentin and Kofi Sarkodie