Toronto FC’s senior academy team, TFC III, touched down this morning in northern Italy, where they’ll be competing in the world-renowned Viareggio Cup youth tournament.
The Under-20 squad travelled to Viareggio, Tuscany (near Florence) to play against world-famous clubs such as AC Milan and title-holders Juventus.
The Reds are the only Canadian representation in the tournament and one of three North American sides, with a pair of teams from the USA (both non-MLS youth teams) also competing. TFC III have been drawn to Pool 1 along with Italian clubs Juventus and SS Maceratese and Czech team Dukla Prague (see here for the full list of participating clubs).
The Viareggio Cup, in its 69th edition this year, has showcased some illustrious talent over the years. Italian stars like Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo, and TFC’s own Sebastian Giovinco all featured in the tournament early in their careers.
No North American team has ever won the Viareggio Cup, but TFC III will be looking to measure themselves against top opposition. Coached by club legend Danny Dichio, the academy side will play in League1 Ontario this season, with home games at the Kia Training Grounds in Downsview Park.
TFC III play a training match against LIAC New York tomorrow before starting the tournament proper on March 13.
The squad that has travelled to Italy can be found on TFC’s official website, with the inclusion of a few TFC II players such as Liam Fraser - who spent preseason with the first team - and Shaan Hundal demonstrative of the standard of opposition they expect to meet.