“I am very proud to welcome you on behalf of NIKE and this great club,” he said. “Play great football, respect your opponents and represent your club and country in the right way. Always aim to be number one; no-one can ever ask any more of you than that, including yourself.”
Two rising stars from host team Manchester United were on hand to perform the all-important Draw. Italian striker Federico ‘Kiko’ Macheda wished his fellow countrymen representing Catania Calcio from Sicily good luck for the tournament and advised all the players to “make the most of this great opportunity to play against the best young footballers in the world and take your chances when you can!"
Talented home-grown goalkeeper Ben Amos was also keen to share his thoughts, having participated in the MUPC World Finals in both 2004 and 2005. “Believe in yourselves. You have all earned the right to play against the best teams from around the world and you have reached the final stages. Hopefully you will play well but whatever happens you should enjoy it. Play without fear; your coaches believe in you and now you must believe in yourselves too. Enjoy the tournament and play your best.”
The Draw: Group A: Manchester United; Fenerbahce; Hannover 96; Bangkok Christian College; Pachuca FC Group B: Orlando Pirates; Catania Calcio; Valencia CF, Hubei FA, Universidad de Chile Group C: Chelsea FC; PSV Eindhoven; Kyoto Sanga FC; Onehunga Sports; Boca Juniors Group D: Right to Dream Academy; FC Metz; Ulsan Hyundai Middle School; Cosmos Academy West; Sporting Club Bahia
Tournament matches will be played at Carrington from 3rd-5th August with the final showdown scheduled to take place at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’ on Saturday 6th August following the unveiling of the new Manchester United line-up at their first Open Training session of the season.
Wednesday will see the start of the ultimate youth football tournament; an incredible opportunity for youngsters from all walks of life to live the dream, feel the passion and measure their extraordinary talents against the best of their peers - to find out whether they have what it takes to become THE footballing stars of the future.