February 3, 2010 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - D.C. United
Washington, D.C. (February 3, 2010) - D.C. United's U-16 Academy side returned from the 2010 Gauteng Future Championships this week, finishing the elite international competition on a high note. The only North American representative in the twelve-team tournament, the Black-and-Red posted a 3-2 overall record, defeating clubs from France, India, and South Africa. In the team's final match of the competition United defeated SAFA Johannesburg 4-2 on penalties, capping the experience of a lifetime for both players and coaches.
"It was good to see our boys finish the competition on a positive note with a victory against the local select team to give us a 3-2 overall record," said United Director of Youth Development John Maessner. "Our club gained invaluable experience both on and off the pitch in South Africa, as the boys were able to absorb many different cultures and styles of play, helping them to grow and learn lessons they will carry with them for the rest of their lives."
United played in Group B of the Gauteng Future Championships alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Zambia's K-Stars, and Tottenham Hotspur's South African affiliate -SuperSport United. The Black-and-Red got off to a hot start, defeating PSG 2-1 at Dobsonville Stadium behind a brace from striker Marcus Salandy-Defour. United lost the next two group stage matches to K-Stars and SuperSport United, by 2-0 and 4-0 score lines, respectively.
Maessner's side responded positively in the playoff phase of the competition, defeating India's Mumbai Challengers 5-3 on penalties before sealing victory against SAFA Johannesburg. Chinese side Shandong Luneng won the competition, with PSG and Brazil's Botofogo finishing second and third.
"We will take home what we have learned from this event and use these experiences to help our program progress," said Maessner. "We have to thank the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Future Champions tournament organizers for inviting us to this event."