The most dominant soccer team in the Mayor’s Cup was a German under-17 boys squad that breezed through the field as if it was on vacation.
In many ways, that was true for Borussia Moenchengladbach, which considered seeing America more important than the competition itself.
Why wouldn’t it? There was little doubt about the outcome. Borussia Moenchengladbach outscored its five opponents 29-1, including the Champlin (Minn.) Dayton Rebels 7-1 on Monday in the bracket final at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex. Christopher Mandiangu scored five goals in the championship game.
The Kellog-Zaher and Ed Fountain fields also hosted the tournament for the 190 boys and girls youth teams from throughout the United States and five foreign countries.
"It wasn’t about playing football," Borussia coach Roland Varkus said. "Of course, we wanted to win the tournament. We want to be successful, but on the other hand, for the kids, it’s a social education."
It was simply an education for Champlin. Nearly the entire team’s roster will go on to play college ball, and those players will take this lesson with them.
"It’s a positive result either way because they get to see something that’s beautiful," said Champlin coach Pepe Jon Chavez, also the men’s and women’s coach at Bethel University. "The game was meant to be played in one constant motion, and so for them to be able to play against something like that teaches them great things.
"(Borussia is) one of the better German teams that I’ve seen play in the States."
This is the farthest Borussia, which has played in many countries, including the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, has traveled.
Mandiangu said through an interpreter that Borussia will take out of Las Vegas "a lot of experience and a lot of fun, good team spirit. I would love to come back here next year."
The team won’t go home until Thursday, soaking up more American culture and playing a friendly game against UNLV at 6 p.m. today at Peter Johann Memorial Field.
From a competitive standpoint, Borussia should benefit more from the exhibition than the matches that counted.
"We play against older guys, and I think it’s harder for (Borussia) than playing here," Varkus said.
While American teenage players typically work toward trying to receive a college scholarship, German youth teams such as Borussia are pipelines to the pros.
In many ways, these players already are professionals. They at least looked the part in this tournament.
"We know that soccer isn’t the main kind of sport in America," Varkus said. "It’s more basketball and baseball and American football, and in Germany football (soccer) is the thing. We live football. We knew we had a good team and we had a good chance to win this tournament."
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or (702) 387-2914.