Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup™ returns for 82nd edition

Finally, the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup™ is back. Due to COVID-19, this traditional youth tournament could not be held in Zurich in 2020 or 2021. This year, as always, over the Ascension holiday, eight women’s and eight men’s youth teams will engage in a thrilling battle for the prestigious tournament title at the Buchlern sports complex in Altstetten in Zurich.

The tournament’s loyal spectators can look forward to youth football at its best. International visitors Valencia CF, SL Benfica, FK Austria Vienna and 1. FSV Mainz 05 will be vying for glory in the men’s tournament, alongside FC Zürich, Grasshopper Club Zurich, FC Basel 1893 or the hosts FC Blue Stars. The field for the women’s event features four renowned names in the shape of VfL Wolfsburg, Olympique Lyonnais, FC Rosengård and Valencia CF Femenino. They will be up against FC Zürich Frauen, Grasshopper Club Zurich, BSC YB Frauen and FC Basel 1893. A mouth‑watering prospect…

A rich tradition

Pep Guardiola, David Beckham, Kaká and Xherdan Shaqiri: they all came to Zurich as young boys before they were famous footballers to take part in the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup. Now there will be new names, new players, who will perhaps become big stars in the near future. The U-20 tournament for young men and women again welcomes players and spectators to Altstetten. It will take place on 25 and 26 May. In addition to many loyal fans and spectators, once again, a number of football legends will attend the tournament.  

Blue Stars 2022 - Match Schedule

Overview of the 16 clubs:

Men

SL Benfica (Portugal) The Portuguese giants have been a regular at the tournament in recent years. The Benfica youth team won the 1996 edition and impressed in later years too (coming second twice and third three times). They are just as fierce back home too, holding the Portuguese record with 24 youth league titles. 

1. FSV Mainz 05 (Germany) Martin Schmidt, the Valais-based sports director at the Bundesliga club Mainz, ensures that work with the Mainz youth players is professional and goal-oriented. The team coming to Zurich are doing well in their national championship. German youth football has a great tradition. And we all know: Germans are always a force to be reckoned with. 

Valencia CF (Spain) Valencia’s youth set-up is run by a man who is no stranger to Switzerland, and who even used to be a junior coach at Blue Stars. Marco Otero, a former youth coordinator at Grasshoppers, St Gallen and Basel, is a technical director at Valencia, one of Spain’s top clubs. A man with his experience, who knows the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup very well, is bound to send a team with big ambitions to Zurich. 

FK Austria Vienna (Austria) It’s been a while since Austria Vienna won this tournament. They triumphed in Zurich in 1947 and 1948. For the first time since 2011, the Young Violets will bring the familiar Austrian might to the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup.  FC Zürich (Switzerland) In the last 14 years, local side FC Zürich have been nothing but impressive, reaching the final seven times and lifting the trophy on three occasions. Any side with designs on this year’s title will therefore probably have to deal with these local contenders. The team want to keep the trophy in Zurich, and they are certainly legitimate contenders. 

Grasshopper Club Zürich (Switzerland) Grasshoppers, who won the 2016 edition by seeing off the challenge of an excellent West Ham United, have been in the tournament for years. Coach Goran Ivelj’s team will do everything in their power to get as far as possible. The domestic and international competition is fierce, but Grasshoppers too can hold their own. 

FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland) Basel’s youth academy has produced more than its fair share of outstanding talent, including Ivan Rakitić, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri. There are also players among the current crop of youngsters who are knocking on the door of the club’s first team. Basel have won this tournament twice, in 1997 and 2009. It remains to be seen whether coach Michel Renggli will be able to lead his Basel boys to victory in Zurich. 

FC Blue Stars Zürich (Switzerland) The home team! Blue Stars, founded in 1898, invested significantly in young footballers as early as 1921 and are considered a pioneer of youth football development in Switzerland. The tournament hosts have certainly held their own against clubs with a bigger reputation, as evidenced by their runners-up and third-place finishes down the years. 

Women

VfL Wolfsburg (Germany) One of the tournament’s favourites! The development of the youngsters of Wolfsburg is remarkable. They are already a household name and will want to prove this in Zurich. They will do their utmost to defend their 2019 title. 

FC Rosengård (Sweden) Rosengård are one of the biggest cult clubs in Sweden. Well-known footballers, like Lieke Martens, Marta, Lotta Schelin, Anja Mittag and even the Swiss international Ramona Bachmann, have all played for this club. They will certainly come to Zurich with a strong team and will undoubtedly be in the running for the tournament title.

Olympique Lyonnais (France) Women’s football and Lyon go hand in hand. France’s top club regularly nurture talented players and turn them into French internationals and world stars. Wendie Renard and Eugénie Le Sommer are just two of the many players that Lyon made famous. The French youngsters will undoubtedly be one of the big attractions of this year’s tournament. 

Valencia CF Femenino (Spain) In the first edition of the women’s tournament in 2018, Valencia CF Femenino made it to the final, where they were defeated by BSC YB Frauen. Spanish women’s football is definitely on the rise, and tremendous work is being done in youth football in Spain. They are definitely a team to look out for at the tournament.  

FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland) Since the summer of 2009, Basel has been represented by several teams in women’s youth football. The Basel U-19 team emerged from the former Concordia U-19 team and, as the oldest Basel women’s youth team, play a key role in the promotion of young talent in women’s football in the north-west of Switzerland. The team want to make an impression at the tournament. 

 BSC YB Frauen (Switzerland) The YB Frauen won the first edition of the women’s tournament in 2018. With their performance and form over the last few years, there is nothing to stop the Bern-based outfit from becoming a stumbling block for the big names from Sweden, Germany and France.

FC Zürich Frauen (Switzerland) FC Zürich are regarded as the leading light in Swiss women’s football. This team’s results have been remarkable, and they keep churning out top talents, much like the U-19 players who are ready to fight for this year’s trophy. Their coach, Inka Grings, will certainly be watching closely to see how the young Zurich women perform.  

Grasshopper Club Zürich (Switzerland) Grasshoppers have also been working on the development of professional women’s football for years. Regardless of the age group or division, they play to win. 2021 was a year of great change for the women’s Grasshoppers team. Not only on the pitch, but also in terms of management, with Lara Dickenmann having been appointed as their General Manager. We look forward to seeing what this brings to the tournament.