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Courtesy Jim Fallon

Academy earns invite to Dutch tournament

The Dynamo Academy, presented by Statoil, will pack its bags this summer and head to the Netherlands for the 35th edition of Eurovoetbal, a prestigious tournament hosted by SC Cambuur beginning June 11. Exact dates and times of the matches will be announced at a later date. This will be the second time the Academy has traveled abroad after defeating their counterparts at Real Madrid and Rangers on a European tour in 2009. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Academy,” Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson said. “It is another chance for the players to compete against quality competition from around the world, and another opportunity to prove that the Dynamo are one of the strongest clubs in the world.” 

The 12-team tournament will feature six Dutch clubs and six international clubs, including Brazilian squad Botafogo and the 2009 champion Valencia. The roster of players who have participated in past tournaments includes Dutch superstars Edwin van der Sar, Edgar Davids, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie. In last year’s event, FC Groningen defeated Ajax in the finals, with PSV Eindhoven taking third place. The Dynamo received an invite to Eurovoetbal due to their previous success at the Dallas Cup, including a first-place finish by the U-16 squad in 2010. 

“Cambuur is a team that we have become familiar with at the Dallas Cup,” Clarkson said. “They come to Dallas to compete every year, and we have formed a good relationship with the club. Because of our previous success, they recognized us a top club and invited us to participate in the tournament.” 

The tournament will come at a critical juncture for the Dynamo. The Academy season wraps up at the beginning of June, and if the squads secure spots in the playoffs, they will be able to use this tournament as an opportunity to stay match fit after the regular season ends. Currently, the U-16 and U-18 squads sit in sixth place in their respective divisions.  

“So far our Academy teams haven’t played up to their full potential,” Clarkson said. “But we are confident that over the second half of the season, the teams will perform at a higher level and we will qualify one, if not both teams for the playoffs. This tournament provides us a great opportunity to continue playing soccer at a high level in June, and hopefully we can build some momentum heading into the playoffs.”