Sitting atop the Northwest Division of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy standings, the Crossfire Premier Boys’ U-15 DA squad travels to Europe in late March for a top-flight competition hosted by Crossfire’s international partner, AcademyTrips.com. This will be the second European competition in six months for the group, who finished as finalists to Dutch giants AFC Ajax in Sittard, Netherlands, last August.
Designed to augment the players’ development with competitive matches versus some of the top clubs in the world, the trip begins with a pair of full-length friendly matches, training in the Netherlands and some cultural sightseeing excursions, before the boys settle into their competition schedule at the 2018 Rotterdam Football Cup.
“We have an ambitious development plan for our DA players and teams,” said Director Bernie James. “Our players aspire to be elite, and to get there, we need for them to play against top teams. Our Development Academy schedule already puts us in a position to play the best in this country, but by traveling to Europe regularly, we can also show these players what the international standard is like.”
Departing Seattle on March 27, the team will travel to Amsterdam before moving on to their training base in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Rotterdam Football Cup is one of the premier U-15 tournaments in Western Europe, with a number of significant professional clubs involved. Crossfire Premier has been placed in Group B for preliminary play, joined by Chelsea FC, Hoffenheim from the German Bundesliga, Sparta Rotterdam of the Eredivisie, Stabæk Fotball and Aarhus GF—from the first divisions in Norway and Denmark respectively. Other notable tournament entries include Paris Saint-Germain (whom this Crossfire squad drew 1-1 with in Madrid 18 months ago), Borussia Mönchengladbach (3-3 draw at Mönchengladbach last August), Beşiktaş JK of Turkey, West Ham United and a couple of the top Dutch clubs, including Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar.
“This is top, top-level competition,” James continued. “Our players are going up against future professionals at clubs known the world-over for the quality of their youth development. It’s an exciting proposition, and one we’re proud to be able to offer our players.”
You can follow along with the team’s experience in the Netherlands on Twitter @crossfireprmr and Instagram @crossfire.premier. Or you can follow the Rotterdam Football Cup directly at the sites below: