On November 12, 2019, Relevent Sports Group (RSG), the premier soccer events and media company in North America and Asia, announced the world-class field for the second annual International Champions Cup (ICC) Futures Tournament. This year's tournament brings together 36 teams from nine countries comprised of the top youth U-14 players in the boys' division and, for the first time, the top youth U-15 players in the girls' division from December 11 - 15, 2019 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.
"Relevent Sports Group is committed to growing the game of soccer, with a major focus on investing at the youth level," said RSG CEO Daniel Sillman. "The International Champions Cup Futures tournament is a platform for boys and girls to experience competing at the international level with first-rate accommodations. The players will have the invaluable opportunity to share best practices from their own leagues as well as their love of soccer."
"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 the boys' side, the tournament will feature eight teams from US Soccer's Development Academy including MLS academies New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami, as well as North Carolina FC Youth, Michigan Wolves, and Tampa Bay Rowdies. Additionally, there are four ICC Regional All-Star teams (South, East, Midwest and West) and one Allstate Sueño Alianza team, which brings together the best undiscovered U14 Hispanic soccer players within the U.S. scouted from over 5,000 players.
Internationally, Chivas de Guadalajara will represent Mexico. The eight European club teams include Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, AS Roma, and Benfica. The first Chinese team to play in the Futures tournament is Shanghai Football Team. The first Brazilian team in the tournament, CR Vasco de Gama, was selected through a PES 2020 eSports tournament with ICC Futures partner KONAMI, at the Brazil Game Show in October.
On the girls' side, the tournament will feature the 2018-2019 Final Four Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) teams: PDA Blue of New Jersey, Heat FC of Nevada, Concorde Fire Platinum of Georgia, and LAFC Slammers from California. The field also includes European academies Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain as well as four ICC Regional All-Star teams (South, East, Midwest and West).
"The ICC event is a unique opportunity for our young players to test themselves against the world's finest," PDA Executive Director Gerry McKeown. "It will provide a level of competition that we can't currently replicate in the U.S. and will take our players beyond their comfort zone. The hope being that these games are a catalyst for our special players to realize that they can survive at this level and motivate them to intensify their commitment level."
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. Based on standings, teams will either qualify for the top division (Championship), middle division (Trophy), or third division (Bowl). Every boys' team will move on to a quarterfinal match in their respective division. Due to the smaller pool of teams, the girls' teams will each compete in a semifinal match in their division. The Championship Division will ultimately decide the boys' and girls' 2019 ICC Futures Champion.
Matches will be played with two 25-minute halves and a 10-minute halftime. If matches result in a tie, 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, YouTube, 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 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.
"The ICC shares our mission of growing the game of soccer and providing more opportunities for youth competition, so we are excited to bring this event to life at IMG Academy," remarked Scott Dean, Athletic Director, IMG Academy. "We are looking forward to introducing teams from the likes of UEFA, MLS, CONMEBOL, and CONCACAF to our campus and providing an opportunity for soccer fans in our region to see some of the brightest stars of tomorrow here in Bradenton."
U14 Boys Division (Born in 2006)
New York Red Bulls
New England Revolution
North Carolina FC Youth
Tampa Bay Rowdies
ICC Regional All-Star Teams
U15 Girls Division (Born in 2005)
PDA Blue of New Jersey
Heat FC of Nevada
Concorde Fire Platinum of Georgia
LAFC Slammers of California
ICC Regional All-Star Teams
Atlético de Madrid
Allstate Sueño Alianza Team
Chivas de Guadalajara
Shanghai Football Team
CR Vasco de Gama