CHICAGO (Feb. 6, 2014) – The U.S. Soccer Development Academy technical staff will reward the top Under-13/14 team from that age group’s inaugural 2013-14 season by sending the club to the 2014 Manchester United Premier Cup World Finals.
The U-15 tournament will take place in August later this year and will mark the event’s 21st edition. The 2013 event took place with the final match played at Manchester United’s historic home stadium of Old Trafford.
“Our U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors will make a holistic evaluation to determine the top club based on Academy criteria and ratings we have compiled,” said U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore. “We think this is a great way to reward a competitive Academy club that is playing the game the right way.”
The 2014 Manchester United Cup tournament field will consist of 20 clubs divided among four five-team groups. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinal stage.
The Dallas Texans represented the USA at the 2013 Manchester United Premier Cup. Vardar SC advanced to the tournament in 2012 and Crossfire Premier in the previous year.
Over the years, the World Finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup have drawn top clubs from around the club such as FC Barcelona, Ajax, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Corinthians, Club America and Manchester United.
The Manchester United Premier Cup started as a regional tournament in 1993 and has gained notoriety around the globe. Manchester United and Nike partnered up starting in 2003, and the MUPC World Finals have been held in Manchester, the United States and Hong Kong. The 2003 event was held in Portland.
Some of the world’s most recognizable players have taken part in the Premier Cup, including Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez; FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Xavi; Chelsea’s Fernando Torres; Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and AC Milan’s Robinho.