The JSSL International 7s and Professional Academy 7s is returning to Singapore from 28 April to April 30, with a record participation of 350 teams from 15 nations.
Growing from 260 teams last year, the region’s largest youth football tournament will also see teams from India, Vietnam and Spain participate for the first time. Meanwhile, the 2018 edition of the Professional Academy 7s will feature a stellar line-up of academy players from Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and Fulham FC from England; Urawa Reds from Japan; and Valencia CF from Spain. They would be joined by a Singapore team from JSSL FC.
Teams will get at least six matches under their belts in the group stage, serving a valuable learning opportunity for players to go up against different teams and styles of football. They will bid to outplay one another and secure a spot in the finals, to be played at the Padang on Monday, April 30th.
Said JSSL Singapore Managing Director Harvey Davis, organisers of the JSSL International Soccer 7s and the Professional Academy 7s: “JSSL is a brand which is now synonymous and associated with quality and professionalism in youth football development. After a successful event in 2017, we have now worked even harder to bring even more teams to Singapore and the best academy youth teams to the JSSL 7s.”
The Guest of Honour for this year’s event is former England striker, Teddy Sheringham, who scored more than 290 goals over a 22-year career where he turned out for the likes of United and Tottenham Hotspurs. He is part of the Red Devils’ historic Treble-winning side of 1999, and fondly remembered for his role in the UEFA Champions League win that year against FC Bayern Munchen. He grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser, before providing the assist for the winning goal on the stroke of full-time.
Sheringham, who also scored 11 times for the Three Lions, will be in Singapore during the tournament to inspire the players.
Emphasising the importance of youth development, Sheringham said: “Youth development plays a vital role in sport. It is important for kids to have the best training atmosphere and competitions in their developmental years. Events and programmes like the JSSL International 7s and Professional Academy 7s are a perfect way for football loving kids to have fun, and to also learn from each other.”
Added JSSL International 7s and Professional Academy 7s Ambassador Paul Parker, who made over 400 club appearances for teams like United, Fulham, and Queens Park Rangers: “The development of football among the youth is critical for the future of the game. Children need to have the right fundamental skills and the appropriate environment to grow and love the game. Thanks to our partners and sponsors, we have been able to create a great atmosphere for the children and their parents, and we are glad that we have been able to keep growing the tournament to where it is today.”
Said Ms Jean Ng, Director, Sports, Singapore Tourism Board: “We are pleased to see the JSSL International 7s continuing to grow and attracting good participation from across 15 nations. Being a multi-faceted city with diverse family-friendly leisure activities outside the tournament, I am sure the travelling players, fans and accompanying families would have plenty to experience in Singapore for memorable weekend.”
Added JSSL managing Director Davis: “This year’s tournament has gotten even better than last year’s, thanks to the generous support of all our sponsors and partners. What has always been at the core of the JSSL 7’s is the unique experience that the children and their families walk away with from Singapore and the JSSL 7’s. This in return ensures their return to Singapore year after year which is seen in the tremendous growth for this year’s event.”