BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, March 28, 2010
As the US Under-20 national team prepares to face Mexico in the opening game of the Dallas Cup, the game will serve as a homecoming midfielder Dillion Powers who is from nearby Plano, Texas.
"It's great to be here back at home," Powers told YA. "This is my first time I have ever been able to play with this team in Dallas at any time. I have a lot of supporters here. It's just a great feeling. I haven't been back here at home in awhile so it is really exciting."
Powers, 19, has long been a stand out player in the Dallas area. He was named 2008-2009 Gatorade National Player of the Year for his senior high school season and was the top recruit among college coaches in the nation. Powers would eventually decide to play for Notre Dame.
Shortly after his high school graduation, Powers would also break into the US U20 national team during their build up to the 2009 World Cup. While that team would fail to advance out of group play, Powers emerged as a more experienced player who could lead the team towards the 2011 U20 World Cup in Colombia.
The Dallas Cup will mark Powers second time with the U20s this cycle and he is impressed with what he has seen from this group.
"I was quite impressed with the younger guys at the last camp in December," Powers said of the new U20 players. "They showed a lot of promise. I thought they worked well together coming out of residency. Now we just have to put it all together with the guys who are a year older."
Powers also feels that this team will be have a different set of skills compared with the last group predominately in their passing ability.
"We really work the ball well and we are a good passing team," Powers analyzed. "I think that's one of the differences. In the last World Cup sometimes we found ourselves not connecting too well and were a little tentative."
Last November, Powers completed his first season at Notre Dame. The team qualified for the NCAA tournament where they fell in the second round to Northeastern and he feels that his experience with the Fighting Irish has been beneficial.
"It was good. I had to work for my position there and earn it," Powers said of his freshman season. "It was a pretty good experience. We exited the tournament a little earlier than we wanted, but hopefully next year we go further."
With the spring season starting up at Notre Dame and a busy year ahead with the U20s, Powers will be busy. He feels that playing with both the two teams, he is improving.
"I wouldn't say my game has changed but I have been trying to improve in most areas and trying to play as much as I can," Powers discussed. Spring season has just started up again. This summer there are a few trips abroad to the US team and we are going to Sweden in with Notre Dame as well for two weeks."
Powers admits that down the line he would like to turn professional however he doesn't know when that will be and he does not yet have a preference if he would like to stay in the United States or try to go abroad.
For now his mind is on leading the US team against archrival Mexico near his hometown.
"US vs. Mexico is always a big deal and it's exciting."