Al Kass U16 Team Photo
Chicago Fire Communications

Chicago Fire Academy to participate in 2014 Al Kass International Cup in Qatar

CHICAGO — (Jan. 10, 2014) – The Chicago Fire U16 Academy Team is set to participate in the 2014 Al Kass International Cup, which will run from January 13 to January 23 at the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar. The third annual tournament will feature 12 Academy teams from some of the world’s most prominent soccer clubs that will compete for international recognition and prize money worth a total of $248,000.

The Chicago Fire Academy will make its first-ever appearance in the distinguished tournament, becoming the first MLS and U.S. Academy squad to participate in the Cup and be granted the opportunity to compete against top-notch youth programs from across the globe. The 2014 pool will consist of U16 representation from AC Milan, Aspire International, Aspire Qatar, Auxerre, FC Barcelona, FC Porto, Fluminense FC, Kashiwa Reysol, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Real Madrid CF.

The Fire U16s, who have been assigned to Group D with Aspire Qatar and Manchester City, will kick off against Aspire Qatar on Tuesday, January 14, and face Manchester City on Wednesday, January 15.

“To be grouped with such notable clubs and be the first U.S. club to receive an invitation to compete in this tournament speaks volumes of our program,” said Chicago Fire Academy Director and Head Coach Larry Sunderland. “Our participation in the Al Kass International Cup is a huge step towards our continued goal of becoming one of the most respected Academy programs, not just in MLS, but around the world.”

The opportunity for the Academy team was also made possible because of the Fire’s relationship with the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Qatar.

“Our owner, Andrew Hauptman, deserves special thanks for putting the Fire in position to be invited to participate in such an incredible tournament,” said Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop.  “We look forward to continuing to build a valuable relationship with the Aspire Academy for years to come.”

The Aspire Academy, an official partner of the tournament, is a globally recognized national sports academy for the development of Qatar’s athletically talented young men. With the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, the Aspire Academy is providing leadership in sports, sports science, academics and community-centric programs that recognize the significance of sports in improving the quality of lives of people in Qatar and the region.

For more information on the Al Kass International Cup, please visit


The Al Kass International Cup 2014 is the third edition of the tournament hosted by Al Kass together with the Aspire Zone Foundation and the Qatar Football Association. It will be held for 10 days from January 13 to 23 on the outdoor pitches at Aspire. This football cup represents the future of football as it is about the stars of tomorrow and about football expanding its seasons to Qatar and its surrounding region. It is an annual event aimed at contributing to the laying of the foundations of a proud footballing nation in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022 and beyond. All the matches of the 2014 tournament are open to the public.