Eighty years have passed since the youth tournament began back in 1939, and down the years, many future stars have come to Zurich to show what they could do. The event has become a firm fixture of the international youth football calendar, one that has always been open to new developments and trends – and this year is no exception.
This year’s tournament will be held on 30 and 31 May 2019 – i.e. on Ascension Day (Thursday) and the following day instead of Wednesday, as was the case in the past, the aim being to attract more spectators to come and watch the action.
A meeting place for fans
The tournament is the sort of event where lovers of football can meet and have a chat in a relaxing environment where the focus is more on the game and young players than winning at all costs – which is why 2019 will see more seats in the stands than before, as well as more food outlets to cater to guests’ refreshment needs.
“Where stars are born”
“Many of today’s top international players first made their mark at the Blue Stars tournament – so there is a fair chance that you will see some of this year’s talented youngsters playing in one of the top leagues in a few years’ time,” says Nuno Gomes, former Portugal international and FIFA Legend, extolling the virtues of the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup as a launching pad for young players’ careers.
David Beckham, Pep Guardiola, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Gerard Piqué, Xherdan Shaqiri – the list of players who have taken part in the tournament is long and impressive.
Focus on women
The inaugural women’s tournament took place last year and was won by BSC Young Boys, who overcame Valencia CF 1-0 in the final. After the success of last year’s competition, six teams will once again take part this year to battle it out for the title.
The next generation
Role models are an integral part of football: they inspire youngsters who dream of becoming professional players to work harder on their game. Hence the introduction of a tournament for boys and girls aged ten and 11 alongside the main event this year, to give them a taste of the sort of atmosphere that characterises international football competitions such as Blue Stars.