The groups for the AEGON Future Cup are set. Well, for the most part they are as still waiting to find out which team from Brazil will be part of the field. The Brazilian representative will be the champion of the AEGON Mongeral Cup which takes place in Brazil and includes some of the country's top youth sides.
This year's Mongeral Cup was won by Sao Paulo meaning that they will be the eight team traveling to the Netherlands for the event. They knocked off CR Flamengo, Santos FC, and Cruzeiro EC to win the event earlier this month and earn there place in the main event.
The other teams that will be in the field are Toronto FC, Tottenham Hotspur, SL Benfica, Bayern Munich, Anderlecht, FC Barcelona, and the of course the event's hosts Ajax Amsterdam. The field is lacking in one of last year's finalist with Manchester United not attending but the reigning champs, Ajax, will be there and looking to defend their home field.
Toronto FC will certainly be in tough against some of the top clubs in the world but it should be quite the learning experience for the academy players and their coaching staff. Getting the chance to play against some of the most talented teenagers in the game should only help Toronto improve in the long run.
TFC academy will have to figure out how to deal with a crowded schedule in early April though if they are going to make the most of this event. With the Future Cup running from March 30 until April 1 the team may be able to bring all of their top players but the U17 CONCACAF Championships kick off on April 6th and Canada will certainly be looking to bring in a lot of the team's top academy players for a camp prior to the event.
It is quite a long shot that Toronto FC would win this event so hopefully they will prioritize playing for Canada as making the World Cup this summer would be good for the player's development. No matter how the squad that heads to Amsterdam looks they will certainly be up against in in Group A.
Toronto's U17 side has been drawn into Group A along with the hosts Ajax, Tottenham Hotspur, and the yet to be named club from Brazil. It will be a very tough group for TFC as they face one of the top academies in the World in Ajax, and Hotspurs program that is well stocked with top English talent, and a Sao Paulo side that might just be full of future Brazilian stars.
The full groups for the event are as follows:
Ajax - Toronto - Tottenham -Sao Paulo
Anderlecht - Benfica - Barcelona - Bayern Munchen