Three IDA Bermuda select teams to compete in Super Cup in Ireland
Three IDA Bermuda Selects teams connected to Warwick Archers will participate in the STATSport Super CupNI in Northern Ireland in July, the first teams from the Caribbean region to participate in the tournament.
Coaches Richard Todd, Danté Leverock and Mark Mills will accompany the under-14, under-16 and under-18 IDA Bermuda as part of a partnership with International Development Academy of Reading.
The tournament will take place from July 24 to 29 with the traditional parade and opening ceremony at the Coleraine Show grounds on the Sunday evening with the final day of competition set for the following Friday.
Matches will be played at 17 venues across the three local Council areas of Causeway Coast and Glens, Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtown Abbey.
“The teams will be participating in the tournament as IDA Bermuda Select teams and this is a continuation with the partnership that the Warwick Archers have with IDA,” Todd explained.
“What we’re looking to do is open it up and not make it very club specific, so we do have players from outside of the Warwick Archers who will be participating.
“I’m pretty excited about it, the Super Cup was previously called the Milk Cup, one of the biggest tournaments in the UK. The last one they ran was in 2019 due to the Covid pandemic, so this is the first one since the restart and they have extended the age groups, adding the under 14s and 13s.”
Twelve of Northern Ireland’s top Under-14 sides will face stern competition from teams from England, the United States and the Caribbean in the newly-created youth section of the SuperCupNI.
The youth section of the tournament was established following the success of the minor tournament back in 2018 and chairman of the organising committee, Victor Leonard, said it should be an exciting age group.
“The players in this under-14 age group would have been due to represent their clubs at the competition in 2021, but unfortunately as a result of the pandemic we were unable to facilitate a fully-operational tournament,” Leonard explained.
“We wanted to ensure that those boys who would have been involved last year were still able to enjoy the tournament experience and that has led to the establishment of this new under-14 age group.
“We have attracted 16 top-quality teams and we believe that this age group could act as a springboard for some of our best local talent to go on and shine with their counties in the Junior and Premier sections in years to come.”
The Northern Ireland entry is led by newly-crowned NBFA Cup winners Linfield who will be hoping to claim their first ever trophy at the tournament later this summer.
Newcastle City Juniors FC, one of the top youth sides in the north-east of England, will be joined in the draw by Surf Soccer USA who have some of the most promising under-14 players from the US in their ranks.
Todd sees it as a good opportunity for Bermuda’s youngsters to gain international exposure against quality opposition.
“We received notice yesterday that in the under-16 division Manchester United, Leeds and Glasgow Rangers from Scotland will have teams participating, so that just shows the quality and the level of teams that come to the event,” Todd revealed.
“The draw for the tournament is this week and at that point we will know the teams and in which group we’re matched up with. We’re excited about the opportunity, I think it’s a good chance for players here to see what the level is like in their peer group outside of Bermuda.
“This is a good opportunity to go over there and get a good measure where we are and where the players are in comparison to their cohorts in other jurisdictions, but also for the coaches as well. From the coaching standpoint it allows us to see some of the areas we can focus on in terms of development of our players.”
The IDA Bermuda under-14 team has about 50 per cent of their players from the Archers, while the under-16s has just three or four guest players in that group. The under-18s will have players from the Archers as well as IDA players from the US and England.
The Warwick Archers programme is enjoying success at youth level with the club winning several awards at last weekend’s BFA’s first youth league awards at CedarBridge Academy, including Todd winning the Coach of the Year for the Under-17s and Keishon Smith Coach of the Year for the Under-15s.
“We’re really happy, it was really a season for us to remember, the 16s and 17s took all honours available, the 13s also progressed to the finals of the knockout, so we had all three of our teams in the knockout finals,” Todd said proudly.
“And in the youth awards for the end of the season, the Warwick Archers have players nominated in each one of those categories.”
Warwick Archers awards at BFA Youth Awards on Saturday:
MVP: Sami Carolo
Goalkeeper of the Year: Sam Larett
Team honour: U-13 KO Cup finalist
MVP: Malachai Henry
Defender of the Year: Olek Rymon Lipinski
Goalkeeper of the Year: Keyan Webb
Coach of the Year: Keishon Smith
Lee Holder Cup champions
Knockout Cup champions
Under-15 League champions
MVP: Kwame Naylor
Defender of the Year: Cody Robinson
Goalkeeper of the Year: Mataeo Holder
Coach of the Year: Richard Todd
Charlie Marshall Cup champions
Knockout Cup champions
Under-17 League champions