After a weekend full of tough matches in poor weather, New Jersey's PDA Pele U12 boys soccer team from Zarephath, NJ has been crowned the US Champions of the Volkswagen Junior Masters Tournament.
Following the team's 2-0 win over the Lower Merion Magic from Lower Merion, PA at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, the next stop for the PDA Pele will be Cape Town, South Africa in May 2010. Just prior to the FIFA World Cup they will battle to become World Champions.
The team's once-in-a-lifetime trip will be provided by Volkswagen of America, the presenting sponsor of the Junior Masters in the US and official automotive partner of Major League Soccer.
The Volkswagen Junior Masters is a 20-country, international youth soccer tournament created by VW AG, and is the first competition of its kind for teams here in the United States.
"The team showed amazing character and perseverance throughout the entire tournament," said Samuel Nellins, head coach of the PDA Pele. "All the other teams were nothing short of fantastic, and each player should be proud for what he was able to do. But the Pele were able to stick it out and play some phenomenal soccer, despite the difficult weather."
Fox Soccer Channel captured all the action and will premiere a special documentary on the Volkswagen Junior Masters Tournament at vwjrmasters.com later this month. A special five-part series highlighting the Tournament will also be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel, in early November.
The US Volkswagen Junior Masters Tournament began in July with a series of six preliminary regional tournaments that qualified 12 teams (the winner and runner-up from each tournament) for the weekend's inaugural US Finals. All the participating teams had to meet the specified U12 age requirements in order to compete.
Globally, VW has been a long-time supporter of soccer. The brand is the title sponsor of Volkswagen arena in Wolfsburg and owns the VFL Wolfsburg football club. In the US, Volkswagen of America is the official automotive partner of Major League sponsor and is a sponsor of DC United.