The best young players on the planet will arrive in Mid and East Antrim next month for a week-long festival of football during this year’s SuperCupNI.
The draw for the Junior and Premier section of the 2018 Super Cup NI has been held at Belfast International Airport.
This year’s competition will see teams from 15 nations from across the globe represented at the competition.
In total 40 teams will compete in the U15 (Junior) and U17 (Premier) section at the tournament, which is scheduled to get underway at the end of July.
Outgoing Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “The SuperCupNI continues to be one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and we are honoured to be hosting several matches.
“This event puts Mid and East Antrim in the spotlight, showcasing some of the superb sports facilities we have on offer within the Borough.
“The competition is great for the economy and tourism, and shows we are open for business.
“We look forward to welcoming all of the fantastic teams, families and fans from across the world.”
Crowd pullers Manchester United were the first name out of the hat and the Old Trafford youngsters have been placed in a tough group with Rangers FC, 2017 semi-finalists Club NI and County Londonderry.
There’s an all-county affair in Group C as County Fermanagh take on County Antrim, with Plymouth Argyle and Chivas Guadalajara from Mexico completing their group.
In the Premier section defending champions Right to Dream from Ghana will face the team they defeated in the final last July. They will take on Club America from Mexico and their group is completed by Scottish side Partick Thistle and County Tyrone.
Group E will see Russian outfit Spartak Moscow take on Brazilian side Osasco, County Antrim and County Fermanagh.
Tournament chairman Victor Leonard said the 2017 competition will live long in the memory, but he has high hopes of the 2018 competition exceeding those lofty heights.
He added: “Our gate receipts at the 2017 competition were up by 20% and last year weather wise and football wise we witnessed one of the best competitions in years.
“We have been on an incredible journey and over the last 36 years we have witnessed quite a few changes.
“Everyone is really looking forward to a tremendous week of football.”
This year’s competition will see five different categories competed for – the U17 Premier section, the U15 Junior section, the U13 Minor section, a girls’ competition and the U19 Challenge game between Manchester United and Celtic, which will take place on Saturday, July 21 at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
The SuperCupNI, formerly known as the Milk Cup, dates back to 1983 and has previously featured players who went on to become superstars, including current Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis and Manchester United legends David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.
For the very latest on this year’s SuperCupNI, please visit: supercupni.com