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Paulaner Cup U.S. fan experience

For the first time in the five-year history of the Paulaner Cup, two fans from the U.S. will take part in what is one of the most unique fan experiences in the world. FC Bayern fan club Mia San Mia WPB member Daniel Cavalcanti and Fan Club of Texas chairman Justin Gardiner qualified for the Paulaner Dream Team to face FC Bayern Munich’s first team at the Continental Arena in Regensburg on November 9. Fans can tune in on at 12 pm on November 9 to follow the Paulaner Cup live.

Read more on the Paulaner Cup and how Daniel & Justin earned their spots.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4 - Daniel

It's less than 48 hours until I take off to Munich and the countdown for me has officially begun. In anticipation to the training sessions and match against Bayern Munich, I've been spending as much time with the ball as possible, including during brief breaks at the school where I work. Every touch I'm fortunate to make during the match will need to be perfect.

I usually pack hours before my trip, but my passport and cleats have been paired and ready to go for months. Finally, November 9th is just around the corner!

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 - Matchday!

Justin's Final Reflections

This was a dream trip come true. I am a dreamer with a large imagination, so when I was told I was going to Germany, to play against the stars of FC Bayern Munich, I definitely envisioned what it would be like. I can say with confidence this trip far exceeded what I could have ever dreamed it would be. The team was a fantastic group of guys, the Paulaner Cup staff was amazing, my Bayern Munich contacts in the United States and in Germany were all fantastic and the list of amazing experiences goes on for a very long time.

I did a post-game interview on, just me and Holger Badstuber! I congratulated Pep Guardiola after the match!  I did a live pre-game interview on SPORT1! I, Justin Gardiner, spoke with Stefan Lehmann and Waldi Hartmann like I was one of them! I shook hands with Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Xabi Alonso, Rafinha, Badstuber, Kimmich, Javi Martinez and Philipp Lahm! I didn't just tour the museum; I sat down with the museum curator! I didn't just tour Säbener Straße, I toured it and met with goalkeeping legend and fan club chief, Raimond Aumann! 

My eyes tear up as I see pictures, videos and remember the fantastic memories. I don't think it's typical for a sports team you are passionate about to give you back as much as you give to them. Fans give so much of their time, life, heart, money, emotions to the teams they are passionate for. I think it's even more rare when a team gives you back way more than you could ever give to it. That's exactly what FC Bayern Munich and the Paulaner Cup did for me.

I will end with a cool short story: the next morning, I left very early to go to the airport over an hour away. Just as I think it’s all over, I'm standing in line trying to get through the entry for passports and a family is looking at me. Finally they come over. It's an American family heading back to the United States after their family vacation in Germany. They said both of their boys, aged 8 and 10, play soccer in the U.S. They said they were at the match the night before and asked if they could have my autograph and a picture, which of course I was happy to do. I told them I was just a regular guy with regular skills but I happened to fall in love with the right club, FC Bayern Munich. I encouraged them to keep training and keep following Bayern Munich and the Paulaner Cup and, when they are 18, they too can play against the stars of FC Bayern Munich. I was living proof that regardless of your skill, your football (soccer) dreams can come true. All you have to do is love the right club and be bold enough to dream the dream. The look in these boys’ eyes as I passed this dream on to them was the perfect ending to a dream experience I'll NEVER. EVER. Forget.