Bundesliga legend Jürgen Klinsmann has launched an ambitious youth tournament in California, USA, named the International Silverlakes Cup.
The inaugural edition of what is to be an annual competition was held at the Silverlakes sports complex 45 miles east of downtown Los Angeles from 25-29 July this year. Co-founded by former Germany international and USMNT head coach Klinsmann in conjunction with the DFL, the aim is to spread the word about the Bundesliga in the USA.
Watch: Klinsmann launches the Silverlakes Cup
To that end, the U-19 teams of three Bundesliga clubs – Borussia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin and VfB Stuttgart – all participated, alongside their counterparts from Mexican Liga MX outfits Club Atlas and Club Tijuana, as well as from MLS sides LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Real So Cal.
"The most exciting part for us is that the players all live together in university dorms [on the campus at the University of Irvine]," said Klinsmann. "They share the facilities with the other teams and that opens their eyes."
Indeed, alongside the competitive aspect of the tournament, one of the aims is to bring young players together and broaden their horizons off the field. That has involved partaking of the southern California lifestyle, from shared post-match barbecues and entertainment to activities on the beach.
The teams were divided into two pools, with Hertha eventually topping Group A and Dortmund Group B to progress to the final, which the Old Lady won 3-1. "It's a great competition," said Klinsmann afterwards. "It's a great learning curve off the field and hopefully we'll see them back next year."
Former Stuttgart midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who is now in charge of the club's youth academy, was equally enthusiastic: "The boys look up to him [Klinsmann]. He's taken the time to talk to us and that's something they benefit from. The experience and passion he brings to this tournament has been excellent, it's a big bonus."