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Eight-year-old soccer star shines in Brazil

  • SaulSport1Feb
The South African SuperSport Football Academy Under-9 team won the Silver Playoffs in the recently held IberCup in Brazil, and eight-year-old Dylan Friedland of King David Sandton was part of the successful South African side.
by SAUL KAMIONSKY | Jan 31, 2019

The IberCup is one of the world’s largest international youth football tournaments, in which the best football academy clubs compete against each other in different locations around the world.

This year’s tournament was held from 14 to 20 January 2019, in Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, and one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

It included more than 1 800 teams from 80 different countries. World renowned soccer superpowers like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Inter Milan competed for the crown in various age groups.

SuperSport United was in Group C in the Under-9 age group alongside five Brazilian teams – EFB, Iate Clube de Brasilia, Esporte Clube Juventude, Sel Eldorado do Sul, and Grêmio Raça Tricolor.

Dylan and his teammates showed that not only are they able to compete against some of the world’s best academy sides, they can succeed against them too. They won three and drew one of their five group-stage matches, and scored 31 goals whilst conceding only 10 goals in the process.

In the following rounds, the team went on to beat Grêmio Maranhense FC, Clube Recife Náutico, and AF Futcenter to win the Silver Playoffs, which also qualifies them for the next IberCup in Brazil in July.

Dylan played eight games in the tournament, scored two goals, and provided five assists. He described the tournament as “exciting”. In preparation, he trained on average of four times a week with his team.

His father, Ryan, said that his son started playing soccer when he was six years old. ‘’He played with a club called Pro Athletico, and then he joined SuperSport at one of their coaching schools. They sent him for trials to make the SuperSport academy, where he was selected out of hundreds of kids.”

Dylan is in Grade 3. He has always played one age group above his current age for the school team.

Ryan said he was not the only one in Brazil to watch Dylan and his team’s matches. “I accompanied him, but he stayed with his team for most of the tournament. A lot of soccer scouts also go to these competitions to pick up players at a young age.”

He describes the experience as “unbelievable”. “The way Dylan integrated with his team, to see other teams from all around the world play soccer, and the way they warm up and what their approach to football is, was just amazing. It was an experience of note.”

Regarding the cost of competing in this tournament, Ryan had the following to say: “I paid for myself and my son. We did raise funds, but we allowed all the money raised to go to less fortunate kids in the team who wouldn’t otherwise go. We also raised money with the intention of getting a parent to go with each kid at such a young age.”

“[In the case of] the next tournament, we suspect part of it will be covered by the IberCup organisation, and we are pretty confident that SuperSport will cover the airfare to Brazil given the success we have had.”

Ryan explained how the SuperSport Academy had gained access to the IberCup. “SuperSport United, a professional soccer club in South Africa, applied to the Iber competition and its application was accepted.”

Dylan, who wants to become a professional soccer player one day, is certainly at a club with a strong Jewish element to it, as club Chief Executive Stanley Matthews and Captain Dean Furman are both Jewish.

Dylan would also like to go to the next IberCup in Brazil. With his team’s experience of this most recent tournament under its belt, they will be looking to go one step better next time in the land that produced the likes of Pelé, Ronaldinho, and Neymar.

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