Snooker legends John Parrott and Ken Doherty performed the draw for Sheffield’s third Youdan Trophy today (Wednesday, April 19th).
The event – which took place at the city’s Winter Garden – was beamed live across the world to millions of sports fans.
More than 800 players from some of the world’s biggest football clubs will participate in this summer’s highly-prestigious tournament.
Representatives from Manchester United to Houston Dynamo, Newcastle United to FC Basel and Everton to Kawaski Frontale are lining up against quality opposition from as far afield as Iran and South Africa in an event which will also feature teams from both of Sheffield’s clubs, Wednesday and United.
Group A of the U14s is set to see a repeat of last year’s final with Charlton taking on Sheffield Wednesday.
Manchester United – making their tournament debut - will play Seattle Sounders in Group C of the U14s – the American team that lifted the U16s trophy last year.
Seattle Sounders won’t have it easy in the U16s tournament though – they play the team they beat in last year’s semis, Wolves. Their Group C also contains Celtic, semi finalist in 2016.
The Youdan Trophy Tournament has quadrupled in size since it’s inaugural event back in 2015 and now boasts a string of Premier League and Championship clubs including Watford, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Derby County, Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest.
Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers will represent Scotland whilst Kawasaki Frontale will be the first Youdan Trophy team to travel from Asia to participate.
Keith Hackett, director of tournament organisers You-Are-The-Ref.com said: “The line-up for the 2017 tournament has exceeded all expectations – we’re absolutely thrilled with it.
“The Youdan Trophy is developing into the biggest and most prestigious tournament of its kind in the whole of Europe and we’re confident it will become a globally recognizable Sheffield brand in the coming months and years.
“The competition is unique in the UK – that is why it is proving so popular. It is bringing together some of the best academy teams at Under-16 and Under -14 level from professional clubs around the world to compete at the highest level. Sheffield’s Youdan Trophy is becoming known as the place to see the sporting stars of tomorrow.”
Youdan Trophy 2017 is providing a unique experience for South Africa’s Supersport and Oman’s Al Habsi - the academy formed by Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. They both get the opportunity to face Scottish champions Celtic and two big English clubs in the shape of Everton and the city’s own Sheffield United in Group D of the U14s tournament.
Last year’s U16s finalists, FC Basel, are up against four English teams in their tough Group B games whilst newcomers Houston Dynamo will have to overcome category A academies in the shape of Everton and Blackburn Rovers in Group B.
Sheffield-based You-Are-The-Ref.com - the world's leading independent authority and education platform for match officials - is behind the creation of the competition which celebrates football’s first-ever tournament - the Football Challenge Cup which was staged, only once in 1867 at Bramall Lane and which was presented by Thomas Youdan.
The Youdan Trophy will be staged in Sheffield from Monday, July 31st until Friday, August 4th. U16 Group games will take place at Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park whilst U14 Group games will take place at the Warminster Road facility of the University of Sheffield.
Spectators are welcome at all games.
The Youdan Trophy is being delivered in partnership with Marketing Sheffield, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, The Children’s Hospital Charity, Roundabout and The Star.
You can also follow the Youdan Trophy on Twitter (@YoudanTrophy), Instagram (@YoudanTrophy) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/YoudanTrophy).