The best of Ontario’s young soccer prospects will gather at Toronto FC’s Kia Training Ground later this week for the first BMO Champions Cup.
TFC have invited 12 youth teams, mostly from the Greater Toronto Area, across four different age groups to a new invitational tournament that will also feature a quartet of the club’s own academy sides.
The four teams in each age group will contest a knockout tournament between Thursday (November 16) and Sunday (November 19) in what TFC hope will become the top end-of-season event for youth clubs in the province.
“This is a tournament I’ve wanted to create since I joined TFC and learned more about the youth setup here in Ontario,” Reds president Bill Manning said.
“The level of soccer here in the GTA and Ontario is very high and we wanted to reward the best teams with a showcase event. Our plan is to make the BMO Champions Cup an annual event and the premier postseason tournament for elite youth teams in the province.
“We will continue to work with Ontario Soccer on rewarding and showcasing the best youth talent.”
As well as giving the participating teams a chance to play against quality opponents at a time of year that TFC academy director Laurent Guyot says is “typically quiet for soccer in Ontario”, the tournament will act as a showcase for Canada Soccer.
There are obvious benefits for TFC’s own scouting and networking, too, in bringing the best local talent under its own roof for a weekend each year.
The top TFC side to compete in the Champions Cup will be TFC III, who are coached by former player Danny Dichio and finished third in League1 Ontario’s Western Conference this season, winning 14 of their 22 games.
TFC III will play in the Under-20, 1997-born classification against the top teams from the U20 or U21 divisions of the Canadian Academy of Futbol (Toronto Youth FC), the Ontario Soccer League (Vaughan SC Azzurri) and the Soccer Academy Alliance Canada (Sigma FC A1).
The full schedule of games is as follows:
|Thu, Nov 16||Eurostar Academy Lions vs TFC Academy||1:30 p.m.|
|Thu, Nov 16||Ginga Soccer vs Oakville SC||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat, Nov 18||Third-place play-off||1:30 p.m.|
|Sat, Nov 18||Final||5:30 p.m.|
|Thu, Nov 16||Brampton Real International FC vs TFC Academy||5:30 p.m.|
|Thu, Nov 16||London Football Academy vs Richmond Hill SC||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat, Nov 18||Third-place play-off||3:30 p.m.|
|Sat, Nov 18||Final||7:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Nov 17||FC Durham Academy vs Vaughan SC||1:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Nov 17||Kleinburg Nobleton Soccer Club Lions United vs TFC Academy||3:30 p.m.|
|Sun, Nov 19||Third-place play-off||1:30 p.m.|
|Sun, Nov 19||Final||5:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Nov 17||Sigma FC A1 vs Vaughan SC Azzurri||5:30 p.m.|
|Fri, Nov 17||TFC III vs Toronto Youth FC||7:30 p.m.|
|Sun, Nov 19||Third-place play-off||3:30 p.m.|
|Sun, Nov 19||Final||7:30 p.m.|