Dr Pepper Dallas Cup Executive Director, Gordon Jago, has received a Member of the Order of the British Empire honor, from the Queen of England, for his services to the promotion of international youth soccer. A Member of the Order of the British Empire (abbreviated it is known in England as an M.B.E.) is awarded for the achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind, which is outstanding in its field; or very local hands-on service for which stands out as an example to others. In both cases awards illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.
I am very surprised, but naturally most of all very honored. Gordon Jago stated after the news came to him on the Queens birthday this past Saturday, direct from the British Consulate in Houston.
Born in Poplar London, within the Sound of Bow Bells (keeping in good company with the likes of actor Michael Caine as a London Cockney), Jagos life has been devoted to the sport of soccer, playing professionally for Charlton Athletic, English 1st-2nd Divisions for 12 years. He coached the USA team in the 1969 World Cup. From 1971 to 1975 he was manager and head coach of the Queens Park Rangers FC, 1st-2nd Divisions, going on to do the same for Millwall FC 3rd and 2nd Divisions until 1977. By years end, Gordon had crossed the pond and taken over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies (formerly of the NASL). He spent five years with the Rowdies leading them to two American Conference Championship wins, two NASL Championship Soccer Bowls, and one NASL Indoor Championship victory. It was in 1984, that the Dallas Sidekicks reign began under the direction of Coach Jago, taking the team to three championships in 13 years, including 1987 MISL Championship, 1993 CISL Championship and 1998 WISL Championship.
It wasnt until 2002 that Gordon took over as executive director of Dallas Cup, an international youth soccer tournament, with over 26 years of success. Gordon has been responsible for bringing teams from numerous countries to compete against the very best United States teams in Dallas, teams such as the Peace Team, a team that is a combination of nine Israeli boys & nine Palestinian; Arch Bishop Tutu team, a multi-racial group of boys from South Africa; and the most recent Under 14 National Iraq team out of Baghdad. All these teams may come from war-torn areas of the world, but soccer is something they all understand. They had the opportunity to experience life in the U.S., a life many of them have only seen from the media. For ten peace filled days they had fun, competition and enjoyed true Texas hospitality, returning home sometimes with the Dallas Cup championship medals, but always with a lifetime of friendships.
One of the most emotional experiences I have had at Dallas Cup, was seeing the joy on the faces of the Peace team players during their time here in Dallas, Jago remembers, That alone was worth every effort Dallas Cup made in bringing the boys to America.
When asked why he decided to take the position at Dallas Cup, Gordon replied, After a lifetime of soccer in England and the United States, I have had the opportunity to go full circle in my career and return to youth soccer. What a wonderful chance to fulfill my life.
Gordon has been very influential in taking the recently titled Dr Pepper Dallas Cup, to new levels, raising the caliber and diversity of the teams that come each year to compete against the worlds best. Dallas Cup will be celebrating its 27th year this coming April and once again the team competition will be at an all-time high. Gordon Jago will be doing what he knows best, promoting and making the world aware of youth soccer.
As for what this award means to Jago, My involvement in Dallas Cup was, I believe, the deciding factor in bestowing upon me the honor of Member of the Order of the British Empire. As always within any organization a great number of people play important parts in its success. I am truly fortunate to have excellent support and assistance from the Dallas Cup board of directors, its staff and the over 1,600 volunteers who together make the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup possible and have brought about the honor bestowed upon me in the Queens Birthday List.