I try to keep abreast of important international club tournament and this week a somewhat minor competition caught my eye.
I was alerted to the IMG Invitational Tournament by a press release from Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, which was a welcome distraction from the 5-0 drubbing at home from Liverpool. One point in particular stuck out to me; the Tottenham Hotspur academy team will face off against the U.S. U17 National Team!
The 2013 IMG Invitational Tournament features handfuls of teams (mostly from the U.S. but two from the Bahamas, one from Puerto Rico, one from Canada, one from Bermuda, and one from Russia) playing in the U14, U15, U16, U17, and U19 age levels, but the event’s Super Group is what I really care about.
The Super Group has 8 teams competing against each other with a few piquing my interest. Hosting the tournament is the IMG Academy U18, joined by American clubs Baltimore Celtic (Maryland) and Alliance Academy (Michigan). Fresh from impressive wins in the Nike International Friendlies tournament last week, the U.S. U17 National Team will also compete as well as four international club teams. Brazil’s Cruzeiro and Mexico’s Querétaro sent their U18 squads, as did lower division English club Stevenage FC and my beloved Tottenham Hotspur FC.
The competition kicks off tomorrow morning and carries on through Sunday.
According to a press release from US Soccer
The event’s Super Group matches will be available online at Livestream.com. Depending on the location of the match, the stream will be located at one of the following links:
On Matchday 1 (Wednesday):
IMG plays Baltimore Celtic, 9am – Field 1
Stevenage plays Cruzeiro, 11am – Stadium
Tottenham plays Querétaro, 1pm – Field 1
Alliance Academy plays USA U17, 3pm – Field 1
On Matchday 2 (Thursday):
Baltimore Celtic plays Tottenham, 12pm – Field 1
Cruzeiro plays Alliance Academy, 2pm – Field 1
Querétaro plays IMG U18, 5:30pm – Stadium
USA U17 plays Stevenage, 7:30pm – Stadium
On Matchday 3 (Friday):
Tottenham plays USA U17, 5:30pm – Stadium
IMG U18 plays Cruzeiro, 7:30pm – Stadium
On Matchday 4 (Saturday):
Stevenage plays Baltimore Celtic, 10am – Stadium
Alliance Academy plays Querétaro, 12pm – Stadium
On Matchday 5 (Sunday):
Querétaro plays Stevenage, 8am – Stadium
Cruzeiro plays Tottenham, 8am – Stadium
USA U17 plays IMG U18, 10am – Field 1
Baltimore Celtic plays Alliance Academy, 10am – Field 1
There will be no playoffs and the winner of the tournament will be the team that has amassed the most points after its 4 games.
The competition should be interesting with Cruzeiro and Querétaro perhaps offering a distinct Latin American creative flair while the U.S. U17 will look to continue its hot form that saw it overrun its English and Brazilian counterpart 4-1 and 5-1 respectively. The American club sides may not provide much excitement but Tottenham’s academy has produced some stellar performances in recent years in the U18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup, and the U19 European club competition NextGen Series.
Random fun fact: Third division Russian club FC Rosich Moscow is sending a U16 squad to participate in the tournament.