2006 Copa Coca-Cola Season Unveiled With Announcement of 10 Host Cities and...

2006 Copa Coca-Cola Season Unveiled With Announcement of 10 Host Cities and Role for Winners in FIFA World Cup Germany(TM)

Champions of Copa Coca-Cola National Tournament to Travel to Germany to Participate in FIFA World Cup(TM) Pre-Match Ceremonies


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Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–February 19, 2006–Details of the 2006 season for Copa Coca-Cola, one of the country’s most exciting youth soccer tournaments, were outlined today when the 10 host cities for this year’s competition were revealed, along with plans for the national winners to play a role in the FIFA World Cup(TM) in Germany this summer.

U.S. soccer legend Paul Caligiuri and former Mexican National Team star Jorge “el Brody” Campos joined the 2005 Copa Coca-Cola Los Angeles tournament champions — the Celtic Harps (boys), from Upland, Calif., and San Diego Spirit (girls) — at Universal Studios to announce the 2006 host cities for Copa Coca Cola: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Calif., San Diego, San Jose, Calif., Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Miami and New York. The tournament will kick off in March and culminate in May with the national championship tournament in Los Angeles.

Winners of the 2006 Copa Coca-Cola national tournament will have the opportunity to travel to Germany to serve as flag bearers and referee escorts in pre-match ceremonies for the 2006 FIFA World Cup(TM). While there, the teens also will participate in a soccer camp with youth from 22 other countries in Europe and Latin America.

Copa Coca-Cola is one of the most prestigious youth soccer tournaments in the country. It is open to boys and girls, ages 13 to 15, and is one of the few free youth tournaments in the country, giving access to young people from organized leagues and unorganized play.

“Copa Coca-Cola provides thousands of young people the chance to compete in world-class tournament play, which can produce several benefits,” said Santiago Blanco, director, Hispanic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “Participating in Copa Coca-Cola provides a platform for physical activity, which reinforces the importance of an active lifestyle, and also offers the possibility of unique experiences, such as being part of a FIFA World Cup(TM) event.”

Copa Coca-Cola was created in Mexico in 1998, establishing tournament play among teenage soccer teams from Mexico and South America. The tournament expanded to the United States in 2001. Since its inception, more than 10,000 teams and 600,000 teams from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia have participated. The program is an extension of the global commitment by The Coca-Cola Company to promote active lifestyles among youth and families.

Coca-Cola also honored Upland, Calif. coach Matty McDonagh with the first-ever “Breaking Down Barriers” Award. The award honors an outstanding citizen who has worked to improve his or her community through soccer.

In 1979, Coach McDonagh established a community soccer league. Now, more than 20 years later, that team has become a well-known club, the Celtic Soccer Club, which averages 33 traveling boys and girls teams and consists of 500 players from Southern California’s Inland Empire area. McDonagh also created the Celtic Cup which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the world with more than 800 teams and 12,000 players attending. The tournament raises funds to sponsor kids that otherwise could not afford to play club soccer. His boys teams, the Celtic Harps, were named the 2005 Copa Coca-Cola national champions.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company. Along with Coca Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world’s top five soft drink brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light soft drinks, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees and sports drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate exceeding 1 billion servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit the Web site http://www.coca-cola.com.

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2006 Copa Coca-Cola Season Unveiled With Announcement of 10 Host Cities and Role for Winners in FIFA World Cup Germany(TM)