MADRID, SPAIN (May 7, 2010) – The U.S. Champions of the Volkswagen Junior Masters Tournament ( www.vwjrmasters.com ), New Jersey’s PDA Pele U12 boys soccer team (Zarephath, NJ), is heading to Madrid, Spain this week to battle teams from across the globe for the honor of becoming the Volkswagen Junior Masters World Champions. The team’s once-in-a-lifetime trip, provided by Volkswagen of America, the presenting sponsor of the Junior Masters in the U.S. and the official automotive partner of Major League Soccer www.mlsnet.com , is the culmination of hard work and determination that began with the U.S. Finals in October 2009. The Volkswagen Junior Masters is a 20-country, international youth soccer tournament created by Volkswagen AG, and is the first competition of its kind for teams all over the world.
“The team has shown amazing character and perseverance throughout the entire Volkswagen Junior Masters tournament,” said Samuel C. Nellins, head coach of the PDA Pele. “All of the other U.S. teams were nothing short of fantastic, and each player should be proud of what he has been able to accomplish. We were able to stick it out and play some phenomenal soccer, and are proud to advance to Madrid where we will represent the United States in the World Championship Finals. This kind of opportunity is something I couldn’t even imagine when I first played.”
"The Volkswagen Junior Masters has offered youth soccer teams both in the U.S., and the world, a challenge unlike any they could have ever experienced before,“ said Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing for Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Volkswagen is proud of the PDA Pele’s teamwork and determination, which not only brought them to the U.S. Finals, but will now place them into the world spotlight as they compete in Madrid for the World Championships. This team represents the nation’s best, and the soccer stars of tomorrow.”
The D junior teams from 20 countries will compete for the World Championship title in the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of the world-famous Real Madrid, and the field where professionals like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká, or Raúl normally play. Over 870 D junior teams from a total of 20 countries participated in the national qualifying rounds. In Europe the teams originated from Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Russia and Ukraine and in Asia, they travelled from Taiwan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates. Morocco, Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe represented Africa and the USA, Mexico, and Brazil complete the list of competitors.
The Volkswagen U.S. Junior Masters Tournament began in 2009, with a series of six preliminary regional tournaments that qualified twelve teams (the winner and runner-up from each tournament) for the U.S. Finals. The PDA Pele secured their spot at the World Finals by defeating the Lower Merion Magic in the U.S. Finals Tournament, which took place at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC on October 18, 2009.
Globally, Volkswagen 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 at its global headquarters. In the U.S., Volkswagen of America is the official automotive partner of Major League sponsor and is a sponsor of D.C. United. The brand also launched this year the Footballers’ Clubhaus, presented by Volkswagen and MLS: A 19-city mobile marketing tour showcasing Volkswagen’s product family at local youth soccer tournaments.
For more information on the Volkswagen Junior Masters, visit http://www.vwjrmasters.com
Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Eos, Passat, Passat Wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg 2 and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2010 Volkswagens come standard-equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program. This is important because the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. MLS kicked off its 14th season on March 19, and will feature 15 teams each playing 30 regular season matches. They include Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC and, in its inaugural season, Seattle Sounders FC. The Philadelphia Union will debut in 2010, while expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland will debut in 2011. For more information about MLS, log on to the League’s official website at www.mlsnet.com.
The Volkswagen Junior Masters:
The Volkswagen Junior Masters is already setting the standards for youth football in its 11th year. What started out as an idea in 1999 to give young players the chance to enjoy sport and compete fairly has in the meantime become the biggest up-and-coming football tournament started by a company for C junior girls’ and D junior boys’ teams. Support for the aspiring talent plays central role. Therefore the Volkswagen football camps which the winning teams will attend will be attended by trainers such as Wolfgang Sidka or Rainer Bonhof. In this way, young talent can be discovered and given targeted support at an early age. Volkswagen’s commitment is also held in high regard by the German Football Association. It’s Vice President, Dr. Hans-Georg Moldenhauer, is the patron of the Junior Masters.