Benfica were today announced as participants in the second edition of the International Champions Cup (ICC) Futures tournament, a premier youth tournament organized by the Relevent Sports Group (RSG).
This year’s tournament brings together 24 teams from nine countries comprised of the top youth Under 14 players in the boys’ division and will take place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Joining Benfica at the ICC Futures will be some of the biggest clubs on the planet like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus FC, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, PSG, Roma, Vasco Da Gama and Chivas de Guadalajara.
There will also be eight teams competing from US Soccer’s Development Academy including MLS academies New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo and Inter Miami.
“Benfica is looking forward to participating in this event and joining some of the top teams in the world,” said Pedro Marques, the technical director of Benfica’s Benfica Campus academy. “Our youth development program is a priority for us and we believe this tournament will add value to the work we are doing at our academy in Portugal. We have a very positive experience from playing in tournaments organized by Relevent sports and we are sure this is going to be a great experience.”
“The International Champions Cup Futures tournament is the best collection of youth talent on the planet,” said RSG Executive Chairman Charlie Stillitano. “A number of these players will soon be playing on the biggest stage, including the World Cup, Champions League and other pro leagues. Others will use this experience as part of their development in whatever careers they choose. It’s an honor to be able to host them at this stage in their journey and play a part of their growth as players and people.”
On December 11 and 12, the ICC Futures teams will compete in group play. Each team will be placed in a group of four, competing against each team within their group across three matches. The champion will be decided on the December 15.
Matches will be played with two 25-minute halves and a 10-minute halftime. If matches result in a draw, there will not be an overtime period in the knockout stages. Penalty kicks will determine the winner of the game.
On December 11 and 12, matches will be livestreamed through InternationalChampionsCup.com, Facebook and Twitter. On December 14 and 15, the Championship Division including the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals for both girls and boys will be televised on ESPN.
All games will be played at the IMG Academy campus which sits on 600 acres in Bradenton, FL. The campus includes more than 20 multi-sport fields, 50 tennis courts, a 5,000-seat state-of-the-art stadium, an 18-hole golf course, two basketball gyms with multiple courts, two 10,000+ square foot weight rooms and more.
Pics: SL Benfica