Borussia Dortmund in North Carolina: The TST experience

Following the UEFA Champions League final in London, the Black and Yellows sent a team of club legends to Cary, North Carolina, USA, to compete at the TST Tournament.
Roman Weidenfeller
Roman Weidenfeller / Christof Koepsel/GettyImages
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TST leaned into some well-known NFL personalities who didn’t just promote TST, they played in it! Chad Ochocinco’s Nati SC reprised their appearance at TST, and JJ Watt joined the Burnley squad, a team of which he’s a co-owner. Then there’s Pat McAfee who, for years struggled to pronounce CONCACAF, so his team was a play on his own mispronunciation, The CONCAFA SC, with former USMNT players like Brek Shae and Geoff Cameron. I can’t claim to know much about McAfee’s American Football career, but he’s not a half bad soccer player. There was also Aguero Team, led by Sergio Aguero donning light blue Manchester City kits, and the returning Sneaky Fox SC, founded by former MLS MVP, Mike McGee, who brought his friends, former USMNT players, Brad Evans, Mix Diskerud, and Sacha Kljestan. Some other notable TST teams included Villarreal, Wrexham and Como-Cagliari.

Perhaps the most serious of teams competing was none other than Nani FC, created by Premier League and UEFA Champions League winner, Luis Nani. I think Nani took a look at this tournament and decided he could easily assemble a winning team. Among others, he recruited former Portugal player Bruno Alves, six-time best futsal player, Ricardinho, as well as North Carolina born Drew Ruggles, who scored the Championship-winning goal for Newtown Pride at TST last year. These players knew what they were doing, and they nearly succeeded too, ousting title-defenders, Newtown Pride in the semifinals before falling victim to the incredibly impressive La Bombonera in a final that saw Nani FC thoroughly outplayed.

La Bombonera, sponsored by an indoor soccer complex in Newcastle, Delaware, run soccer programs from youth to adult, mostly in Spanish communities. Their TST team consisted of mostly Major Arena Soccer League players, Mexico FUT7 National Team players, and Liga MX players. Entering the tournament, they were hardly known, but this squad had an incredible impact across their matches and, dare I say it, will be the team to beat next year! The players are quick, clinical in their footwork, and inspiring in their build-up and team play.

While illness prevented me from playing a larger journalistic role in TST this year, I still greatly enjoyed following the action each day, and I look forward to covering the tournament next June! Follow the TST socials and be ready for an even more exciting tournament next year!