Draw 26th edition U13 Cup yields top matches
“This is where you see the true value of our soccer.”
Yesterday in community center ‘de Bijenkorf’ in Assenede, a draw was held for the 26th edition of the U13Cup. Once again this year, the draw produced some great matches between several top teams from Belgium, Europe and the US. Defending champion Real Madrid will be absent and replaced by a mystery guest, yet to be determined. Soccer fans mark the weekend of June 2, 3 and 4 in their calendars.
Real Madrid won the 26th edition of the U13Cup last year. The Madrid players must unexpectedly absent themselves from this year’s “Champions League for U13s. Still, the prestigious youth tournament hardly sacrifices quality. With SL Benfica, West Ham United, FC Copenhagen and PSV, the top of European youth soccer is once again coming to Bassevelde.
In addition, the top Belgian youth teams are also signing on with RSC Anderlecht, Club NXT and Racing Genk among others. The overseas talents of the New York Red Bulls and perennial Celtic Glasgow also went into the drum for the draw.
Moreover, with Germany’s top team Red Bull Leipzig, another team from the Red Bull consortium is also on the bill. Thus, they ensure that this edition actually has “wings.
As per annual custom, the draw was overseen by Sporza voice Tom Boudeweel. The balls were drawn by some prominent figures in the soccer world. Among others, Pro League spokesman Stijn van Bever, Club coaches Rik De Mil and Nicky Hayen and top referees Bram van Driessche and Wesli De Cremer signed present.
Stijn van Bever, spokesman for the Pro League, had only praise for the existence of the U13Cup: “This kind of tournament forms the basis for the career of many youth soccer players, boys and girls. The setting of this tournament, at these grounds, also contributes to this. Many players can take their first steps here, under the local church tower, to later grow into the bigger teams.”
Rik De Mil (coach Club Brugge) himself has often been able to taste the atmosphere in Bassevelde as a spectator: “Here you see the real value of our soccer: young players who can fully prove themselves here while throughout the tournament they can experience both joy when they win and sadness when they lose the final, for example.”
Jean Kindermans, strong man within the youth training department of RSC Anderlecht, agrees that the level of the tournament and the Belgian youth training should certainly not be underestimated: “We can definitely count this tournament and the Belgian youth operation among the top of Europe.”
Nikola Storm, the nimble flank player from KV Mechelen, was also present at the draw. He had agreed earlier in the day to become godfather of the tournament. Nikola himself was active at the 2006 U13Cup as a player of the home team from Bassevelde, which then finished in a historic 6th place. “It is an honor for me to be godfather of such a fine organization. I didn’t hesitate for a second when they asked me. I am already looking forward to June 2, 3 and 4.”
A live podcast was also recorded during the draw for the first time ever. The podcast listens to the name “Café U13Cup” and will have four episodes that will be listenable and viewable through U13CUP’s social media channels.
The draw produced these notable groups:
– Series A promises sporting fireworks with Cercle Brugge, Anderlecht, AZ and a mystery guest yet to be determined.
– Our own boys from Selection U13Cup have to face PSV, tournament debutants SL Benfica and New York Red Bulls in what is, on paper, a leaden Series B.
– In series C, spectators will get an unadulterated Battle of Flanders between KAA KAA Gent and Club NXT. FC Copenhagen and Celtic are the other two teams.
– Finally, in Series D, Champions’ Play-Off participants Genk and Antwerp take on RB Leipzig and West Ham United.