LOS ANGELES - FC Dallas today was officially named one of four MLS teams that will participate in the inaugural SuperLiga(tm), the preeminent club tournament in North America that will not only decide the best in the region but will also award the heftiest winner's purse in North American soccer history. Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber together with the Commissioner of the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Primera Division (Mexican Soccer Federation's First Division), Decio de Maria, announced the creation of SuperLiga(tm) and the participating teams during a press conference held at Home Depot Center in California.
"It will be an honor to represent our wonderful fans and North Texas soccer in the Inaugural SuperLiga," said FC Dallas General Manager Michael Hitchcock. "It's a great opportunity to match the best Mexican and American teams to find out who is the best club in North America."
Eight clubs - four each from the top flight leagues of the United States and Mexico - will vie to determine a singular champion of North America. While competitive criteria will determine participants in future editions of SuperLiga, the eight teams in the inaugural 2007 edition of SuperLiga were selected on an invitation-only basis: reigning CONCACAF champions Club America, Copa Sudamericana holders CF Pachuca, one-time league champion Monarcas Morelia and CD Guadalajara from Mexico; four-time MLS Cup champion D.C. United, Western Conference champion FC Dallas, two-time MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions, Los Angeles Galaxy and the MLS Cup 2006 champions, Houston Dynamo will represent the United States. SuperLiga 2007 will count on both reigning league champions, the Houston Dynamo (MLS) and Chivas Guadalajara (Mexico).
The format, modeled after the UEFA Champions League, will include a group phase and a knockout phase with all games held in U.S. venues. SuperLiga will be played between July 24 and August 29, 2007. In addition to the prestige of capturing this continental honor, the club that emerges as SuperLiga champion will take home $1 million dollars in prize money, an unprecedented prize purse in North American soccer history.
The SuperLiga field of teams is divided into two groups, each with two representatives from the respective leagues. FC Dallas, which will play in Group A along with Chivas de Guadalajara, Pachuca, and the Los Angeles Galaxy, will host all three opponents at Pizza Hut Park on July 24 (Pachuca), July 28 (Chivas), and July 31 (Los Angeles). Details on tickets for SuperLiga games at Pizza Hut Park will be announced soon. Group B will consist of Club America, D.C. United, Houston, and Morelia.
"There are many reasons to win this tournament, including credibility, pride, and the "pot of gold" for the champion," added Hitchcock. "We're excited to host all three of our first round games at the world-class Pizza Hut Park in what promises to be a great tournament."
The entire tournament will be broadcast live in primetime by Univision's TeleFutura Network in the United States and by Televisa and TV Azteca in Mexico. The SuperLiga final will be held on August 29 at a U.S. venue to be determined.
The SuperLiga mark took its inspiration from representative symbols of the Americas - the Bald Eagle native to the United States and Canada, and the Golden Eagle which appears on Mexico's flag. A concept of the two birds swooping toward the same soccer ball evolved into a graphical representation of a single feather with two sides - one silver, one gold - enveloping the ball, thus evoking an elite nature of the competition. Historically in both countries, the feather - la pluma in Spanish - has long been revered as an emblem of bravery, excellence and glory. The SuperLiga trophy will reflect this graceful form as it becomes a highly-coveted "feather in the cap" among North America's top teams.
SuperLiga(tm) 2007 Schedule*
(All Times Eastern) / * Subject to change
Tuesday, July 24
FC Dallas vs. Pachuca (Pizza Hut Park - Frisco, TX) 9 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. CD Guadalajara (Home Depot Center - Carson, CA) 11 p.m.
Wednesday, July 25
D.C. United vs. Monarcas Morelia (RFK Stadium - Washington D.C.) 8 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. América (Robertson Stadium - Houston, TX) 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 28
FC Dallas vs. CD Guadalajara (Pizza Hut Park - Frisco, TX) 8:00 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. Pachuca (TBD) 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 29
D.C. United vs. América (RFK Stadium - Washington, DC) 8:00 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Morelia (Robertson Stadium - Houston, TX) 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 31
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy (Pizza Hut Park - Frisco, TX) 8:00 p.m.
CD Guadalajara vs. Pachuca (Dick's Sporting Goods Park - Denver, CO) 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 1
D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo (RFK Stadium - Washington D.C.) 8:00 p.m.
América vs. Morelia (Toyota Park - Bridgeview, IL) 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Semifinal 1 (TBD)
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Semifinal 2 (TBD)
Wednesday, Aug. 29
Don Garber, Major League Soccer Commissioner:
"We are proud to announce the creation of SuperLiga, which will quickly become one of the most prestigious international club soccer tournaments held in the United States. This tournament presents the most authentic competition between rival soccer nations and will bring out the passion and pride of fans in our hemisphere."
Decio de Maria, Commissioner of the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Primera Division (Mexican Soccer Federation's First Division):
"Given the great soccer rivalry between the two countries, we strongly believe SuperLiga will be a great international soccer tournament," said De Maria. "Featuring the top teams in both leagues, SuperLiga will become an instant favorite among the millions of soccer fans in Mexico and U.S."
Kevin Payne , D.C. United President:
"It's a great honor to participate in the first of what we all hope will become an annual competition between clubs from Major League Soccer and Mexico's Primera Division de Fútbol. International competition has always been an important part of the D.C. United tradition and we're excited to test ourselves, once again, against our neighbors from the south."
Oliver Luck, Houston Dynamo President and General Manager:
"The Houston Dynamo is honored to have been selected to participate in this tournament. As MLS Champions, we feel confident that we can be competitive in this tournament and continue to pursue our goal of becoming one of the top soccer franchises in the U.S. This tournament provides us with an excellent opportunity to do just that, and also to garner additional international exposure for the City of Houston."
Alexi Lalas, Los Angeles Galaxy General Manager:
"We are pleased to partake in the inaugural edition of this prestigious tournament, which will help us on the field by allowing us to play against top competition and off the field by allowing us to expose out brand to a new market. With the tournament taking place at the same time as our league games and the U.S. Open Cup, the tournament will test our roster to the last man."
Luis Fernando Tena, Club America Head coach
"The tournament is another opportunity for us to expose our club at the international level. Any match against teams from other nations has value, especially those against a league that is growing such as MLS. The North American market is growing for ourselves. The growth of the sport is beneficial for all and with the recent signing of David Beckham, American soccer is showing how serious it is when it comes to the sport."
Néstor de la Torre, CD Guadalajara Vice President
"To us it is an extremely interesting tournament that will allow us to continue to familiarize ourselves with the level of soccer in MLS through matches that offer large cash prizes and that one day may have great sporting incentives. I see a great future for this competition. The matches between the soccer of the United States and Mexico are healthy for both and the most recent meetings at the international level have demonstrated an enormous rivalry and we can expect the same when it comes to the clubs of each country."
Moisés Muñoz, Monarcas Morelia Goalkeeper
"Without a doubt the U.S. clubs have grown and the distance between the two nations has shortened. This tournament will be a good opportunity to show the parity between the soccer practiced in Mexico and in the United States."
Jesús Martinez, Pachuca President
"For us, it is a great honor to participate in this great event. It's important for the interaction that we can have and always look for, with our fellow countrymen and fans of Pachuca that live in the United States. The internationalization of Pachuca has taken great steps, every time achieving more international successes in this respect, such as winning the Copa Sudamericana in 2006. Now we look forward to having more success in this tournament, in which we will take part with a great sense of seriousness and responsibility, as we always do in our institution."
About Major League Soccer:
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and features many stars from the U.S. and around the world. The League's 12th season kicks off Apri, 2007. The 13 teams in MLS are: the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, Red Bull New York, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC. For more information about MLS, log on to the League's official web site at www.MLSnet.com .
About Mexican Federation's First Division:
The Mexican First Division, the top flight professional league of the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol (FMF), features a total of 18 teams who vie for the championship decided by a playoff system known as "la Liguilla", is home to some of Latin America's top players and teams who are considered some of the best in this hemisphere. Mexican clubs have shown their quality not just within their own country but also the Americas' most prestigious competitions. For more information, visit the Federation's official site: www.femexfut.org.mx.