A record number of representatives from top English and Scottish clubs are preparing to travel to Derry this month for the much anticipated Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup which takes place across the North West area.
Chairman of the organising committee, Michael Hutton claims that hotels in Derry are reporting an increase in bookings from scouts who will be attending the tournament which begins on July 16th next in Derry, Strabane, Limavady, Dungiven and Donegal.
This year’s competition has attracted 162 teams - its highest ever entry – and clubs will travel across the Atlantic to compete with entries received from as far away as Canada and America.
Indeed, not only will teams travel in huge numbers to the city but all the major clubs in the UK will be present during the week to scout talent, focusing especially on that Ireland has to offer, hoping to find the next Darron Gibson, Shay Given, Paddy McCourt or James McClean.
“Hotels are reporting to me more than ever over the past few years and especially this year, that the major clubs in Britain are booking scouts into hotels,” said Mr Hutton.
“Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Sunderland, Celtic, Hearts, Rangers, to name but a few will each have several scouts in the city, very much focusing on what Irish talent is available.
“More and more clubs are looking at the success of Irish players with Premier League clubs and are determined to find future stars – thereby saving themselves millions of pounds that their clubs cannot afford.
“There can be no doubt about the respect that The Foyle Cup has gained over the years. Our economy has been in a deep recession for the past three or four years and yet the tournament continues to grow and prosper.”
At the recent Press Launch for the event, No. Ireland team manager, Michael O’Neill, acknowledged the part that the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has played and continues to play in the development of young players for the International team.
“So many of our current N. Ireland team have come through the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup,” he said. “I know the immense importance placed on this event by professional clubs in England and Scotland, as each club ensures their scouts are in attendance throughout the week.
“This is a high profile competition which is obvious from the clubs involved in it, and it is a wonderful testament to the strength of youth football in this region and a credit to all the people who have put so much work into it.
“I know the years of preparation that goes into coaching the best out of our young players for this tournament. It is a great experience and preparation for players who will go onto gain professional contracts with cross Channel clubs.”
More details regarding this year’s event can be viewed on the tournament website; www.foylecup.com or telephone 02871359734.