The academy stars at Evo-Sti League Southern Salisbury City are looking forward to playing in the inaugural Southampton Cup next summer.
The Whites say their youngsters preparing for the chance of a lifetime in August 2017 after they were invited to send sides to play in the Premier League club’s brand new eight-day international youth football tournament.
In a statement on Wednesday, delighted officials at the EVO-STIK League Southern Division One South & West club announced that the Raymond McEnhill Stadium would also be hosting two of the global tournament’s finals with RSC Anderlecht, Dinamo Zagreb and Deportivo de La Coruña already confirmed as entrants.
A spokesman said: “Salisbury FC are proud to have been asked to host two of the finals of this prestigious tournament being run by Saints in August 2017. Other venues will include the famous Staplewood Campus, Southampton FC’s world class training centre, AFC Totton and other stadiums in the Southampton area.
“The tournament format will be made up of eight pro academy sides and eight elite clubs from around the globe and the UK. This will be divided into four groups of four consisting of two pro academy, and two elite teams. Teams will play each other in a round robin format with the top two from each group going into the main cup, the bottom two into the plate.”
The spokesman added: “As well as having a minimum of five matches over the eight days, all teams will also get a behind the scenes tour of the training centre as well as St Marys stadium.”
Salisbury FC Youth spokesman Mark Winter said: “As academies use the calendar year to categorise age groups, as opposed to the school year which is used in grassroots, this means the U12 section will be made up from our now U11s and U12s age groups. The U14 squad will be from the current U13s and 14s. With so many games in a short space of time, we will try to include as many players as we can.
“There are already some of the best European teams signed up, with more to be announced soon and Southampton FC have said on their website that they hope to bring some of the most talented young players to the region for a ‘festival of football’.”