Saturday marks the opening day of the eighth edition of the prestigious Future Cup, pitting the Under-17 youth teams of some of Europe’s biggest sides against each other in Amsterdam. Sponsored by ABN Amro, the three-day tournament is held at Ajax’s De Toekomst academy. As digital media partner of the competition, Goal will be there to provide in depth coverage with reports, videos, interviews and more!
WHAT IS THE FUTURE CUP?
The ABN Amro Future Cup has become a household name in international youth football. The first edition was held in 2010, and since then the Under-17 teams of the world's top clubs gather annually to compete.
The competitors change every year with clubs and national sides both playing in the tournament. In the maiden year, China’s Under 17s reached the final, only to lose to Ajax, led by current first-team captain and that year’s player of the tournament Davy Klaassen. Stefano Denswil and Lesly de Sa, who both represented Ajax’s senior side, and Ouasim Bouy, before his departure to Juventus, were also winners that year.
Ajax have since gone on to win the tournament in 2012 and 2014, while Anderlecht won it in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Last year’s edition, however, belonged to Arsenal as they beat Anderlecht on penalties in the final and return this term to defend their title.
The likes of Barcelona, AC Milan, Manchester United and Liverpool have also appeared in the tournament, fielding some prodigious talents, with the best of the bunch being given the Adidas Best Player of the Future Cup award. Previous winners are: Riqui Puig (pictured beloow, Barcelona, 2016), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, 2015), Abdelhak Nouri (Ajax, 2014), Nabil Jaadi (Anderlecht, 2013), Queensy Menig (Ajax, 2012), Dennis Praet (Anderlecht, 2011) and Klaassen (Ajax, 2010).
WHO COMPETES IN IT?
As hosts, Ajax U17s are of course present. The Dutch side are coached by Gery Vink, who has been associated with the academy since 2006 and was in charge of Ajax’s reserves between 2011 and 2013. Daishawn Redan will act as the pinnacle of their attack. He has been scouted by several of Europe’s top clubs and will leave the club at the end of the season having refused to sign a professional contract.
As well as the defending champions, Bayern Munich are also returning for the fifth time, and ever-present Anderlecht will be hoping to regain their place as the most successful team in the tournament.
The field is completed by Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Benfica, and a J-League select team based on the youth teams of Japan.
The teams will be split into two groups for the first two days to decide the knockout rounds. This year’s format is as follows:
WHEN IS THEFUTURE CUP?
The tournament is traditionally played during the Easter weekend, taking place on from Saturday April 15 to Monday 17.
The first two games take place at 11.30 on Saturday, then further games kick off at 13.00, 14.30 and 16.00. On Sunday, more games are scheduled at 12.30 and 14.30. As the groups are decided, the knockout rounds are held on Monday, but all teams will be in action with the semi-finals starting at 10.00 and 11.30 to decide the final, which starts at 15.00.
Saturday 15 april
Sunday 16 april
Monday 17 april
11:30 | Ajax - J-League
12:30 | RSC Anderlecht - PSG
10:00 | 4th Group A - 4th Group B
11:30 | SL Benfica - Juventus
12:30 | Arsenal - Bayern München
10:00 | 1st Group A - 2nd Group B
13:00 | RSC Anderlecht - Arsenal
14:00 | Ajax - Juventus
11:30 | 2nd Group A - 1st Group B
13:00 | FC Bayern München - PSG
14:00 | SL Benfica - J-League
12:00 | 3rd Group A - 3rd Group B
14:30 | SL Benfica - Ajax
13:30 | Consolation final
14:30 | J-League - Juventus
15:00 | Final
16:00 | Bayern München - RSC Anderlecht
16:15 | Prize giving
16:00 | Arsenal - PSG
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