Toronto FC III (Formerly known as TFC’s senior academy team, TFC III an Under-20 squad) will depart for Italy on Wednesday as they prepare to take part in the 69th edition of the Viareggio Cup.
“This is a massive opportunity for our players,” said Toronto FC III head coach Danny Dichio,” we are very excited, but we know we have a lot of work to do for us to go and compete against these very big clubs.”
The Viareggio Cup is known as one of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the world. It is recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Italian Football Federation (FIGC), UEFA and FIFA. The tournament coincides with the Carnival of Viareggio, a carnival that is annually held in Viareggio, Tuscany. Past players that have featured in this tournament are Italian internationals Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele De Rossi, and Argentine international Mauro Icardi. Toronto FC’s own Sebastian Giovinco participated and won the tournament with Juventus back in 2005.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the tournament.
Juventus FC: Juve are the reigning champions of the tournament and have lifted the trophy on nine occasions. The Old Lady ‘s roster should feature a mixture of Italian and top international talent as the Juventus youth system is known for their development of international players.
Dichio’s report: “Juventus has a very strong academy system. They are known for producing top talent. It will be a big test for our players. But it is a test that our players should be looking forward to, they should want to play against the best.”
FK Dukla Prague: The Czech side is the most successful non-Italian team in Viareggio Cup history. The club has won the tournament six times, with their most recent triumph occurring in 1980.
Dichio’s report: “Dukla Prague is a very good team, they are the most successful foreign team. We know we will have our work cut out against them, but it should be a very competitive match.”
S.S. Maceratese: The senior club currently plays in Lega Pro, which is the third division of Italian club football. They come from Macerata, which is located in the Marche region of Italy.
Dichio’s report: “We don’t know a lot about Maceratese. We do not have as much video on them. But we will do a lot of work once we arrive to prepare for the match.”
The Viareggio Cup is a standard round robin group stage, where each team will play each other once. There are 40 teams in the tournament, with ten groups of four teams. The top two teams from each group will advance to a single-elimination knockout round stage where an eventual champion will be crowned in a winner takes all final.
All of Toronto FC III’s group stage matches will be played at 9 a.m. ET. Toronto FC III will open up the tournament against S.S. Maceratese on March 13th They will then face Juventus on March 15th and will close out the group stage against Dukla Prague on March 18th.
The knockout round schedule is as follows: Round of 16 – Wednesday, March 22; Quarter Finals – Friday, March 24; Semi-Finals – Monday, March 27; Finals – Wednesday, March 29).
Here is the list of players travelling to Italy for the tournament:
1. Robert BOSKOVIC – Defender
2. Danté CAMPBELL – Midfielder
3. Gianluca CATALANO – Goalkeeper
4. Kunle DADA-LUKE – Forward
5. Aidan DANIELS – Midfielder
6. Daniel DA SILVA – Forward
7. Andrew DIAS – Defender
8. Filippo DI BENNARDO – Goalkeeper
9. Julian DUNN – Defender
10. Liam FRASER – Midfielder
11. Steven FURLANO – Defender
12. Shaan HUNDAL – Forward
13. Malik JOHNSON – Forward
14. Marko MANDEKIC – Midfielder
15. Brandon ONKONY – Defender
16. Nicholas OSORIO – Midfielder
17. Luca PETRASSO – Midfielder
18. Rocco ROMEO – Defender
19. Kota SAKURAI – Midfielder
20. Matthew SRBELY – Midfielder
21. Nikola STAKIC – Defender
22. Luca UCCELLO – Midfielder
Keep up to date
Be sure to follow Toronto FC III on Twitter for live updates from all matches. You can also check out the TorontoFC Academy Instagram page for photos from Tuscany. Keep it locked to torontofc.ca for match previews/recaps.