The Southampton FC Cup is an annual eight-day International youth football tournament, which is being hosted by Southampton FC Academy involving teams from across the globe. The 2017 tournament is now full with over 60 teams from around the world signed up including top professional academies. The tournament will become a key fixture in the calendar for youth football clubs around the world, bringing some of the most talented young players to the region for a ‘festival of football’. It gets under way on Saturday 5th August and will run for eight days.
Due to the age restrictions of the tournament, the Isle of Man Under 14’s squad will be selected from a mix of players in the Boys Under 13’s and Boys Under 14’s Centre of Excellence squads.
The squad is scheduled to compete against the world’s top talent in an age category against teams from far and wide; the likes of: FC Porto, Dinamo Zagreb, Real Club Deportivo La Coruna, Chelsea, LA Galaxy, Plymouth Argyle, Servette, Southampton FC, Guernsey and academy teams from Canada and Kenya.
The travelling squad will be picked and announced by June 1st. The travelling staff for the competition is Gareth Lloyd, Gavin Gawne (Boys Under 13’s coaches), David Pope, Rob Mason (Boys Under 14’s coaches) and Lewis Qualtrough (FA Centre of Excellence Manager). The coaching team are expecting the tournament to be similar to a tournament the Centre of Excellence attended back in 2011 and 2012 ‘The Keele Warrior International Cup’.
Lewis Qualtrough added: “It’s a brilliant chance to play against this level of opposition and for the Islands junior players to make some lifelong memories at the same time. It will be tough, in fact it will be a real test for our lads, but one which they should look forward to in order to help them kick on. The likes of Rowan Richardson, Tom Cowley and Adam Long attended tournaments similar to this one as junior Island players (The Keele Cup 2011 and 2012). They went on to earn professional youth contracts at Blackpool, Morecambe and more recently Adam at Wigan Athletic, so it’s a good chance for the current younger crop to gain some valuable football development experience and try to do the same”.
As a completely self-funded programme, the squad are fundraising in advance of the trip and are looking for local sponsorship opportunities and trip support ahead of August. If any local companies or benefactors can help please contact the Isle of Man FA office on Tel: 615576.