Several Kent squads were in action in international tournaments over the Easter holiday period. The U13’s, accompanied by Richard Crutchfield, Andy Raines and Niall Crutchfield, took part in the prestigious Dallas Cup in Texas, which is widely considered to be the premier youth football tournament in the USA, with over 4000 players and almost 200 teams from 37 different countries. For many of the world’s top footballers, the Dallas Cup has been part of their pathway to success – players such as David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana and numerous others have all played in past tournaments. The Kent players were a credit to the county, on and off the field of play, and returned home with some great memories. The Dallas Cup has been running for 37 years, and a former Kent player, Gordon Jago, was instrumental in establishing it as an international tournament. Gordon, now in his eighties, captained North Kent and Kent whilst at Erith Technical School, and then went on to play for England Youth and Charlton before managing QPR, Millwall and Charlton. He retains his involvement with the Dallas Cup as its Ambassador.
Meanwhile, the Under 11 Kent squad made the relatively short trip across the Channel to Loon Plage, where they were unfortunate in losing on penalties in the semi-final, and thus having to settle for third place in a tournament where the continental opposition is always strong. Managers Paul Jackson and Ian Sanders were delighted with the boys’ performances.
Also in France a few days later were the Kent Under 12 and Under 14 squads – they took part in the Disney International Tournament in Paris. The Under 14 were comfortable winners, finishing the tournament as top goalscorers and without conceding a goal. The Under 12’s, playing in the Under 13 age group, won their group before losing in the semi-finals to an older and more physical French side. Accompanying the group were James and Rachel Hopper, Matt Turner, Paul Jackson, Richard Crutchfield and Niall Crutchfield. The KSFA are especially appreciative of the support received for the trip from DFDS Seaways and Gary Whitling.
Under 13's at The Dallas Cup
Under 14's at the Disney International Tournament, Disneyland Paris