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Manchester United, Valencia, Fulham and Urawa academies to battle it out at the Padang

Four world-renowned clubs sides – Manchester United, Valencia, Fulham and Urawa Reds – have confirmed their participation for the JSSL Professional Academies 7s which will be held in Singapore at the Padang in April 2018.

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The four youth teams have confirmed their participation for the event, which will be held alongside the JSSL International 7s next year.

Supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, the JSSL International 7s and Professional Academies 7s attracted 271 teams and over 3,000 players from 15 Nations in total in March-April 2017.

An estimated 350 teams from across the region will be participating in the JSSL International 7s 2018 edition.

"It is going to be a football fiesta like no other with Manchester United, Valencia CF, Urawa Reds and Fulham FC all confirmed for the JSSL Professional Academies 7s for 2018," said Harvey Davis, Managing Director of JSSL Singapore.

We are always looking out for good, competitive football competitions. We are looking forward to participating in the event in 2018 in Singapore

- Nicky Butt

"It will be a great opportunity for players from all around the region to learn from the best youth teams in the world. We are hoping to finalise the final four teams for the Professional Academies 7s within the next few months."

The 2018 edition of the JSSL Professional Academies 7s will be the second time the academy sides of world renowned and regional teams participate in the event.

"We are always looking out for good, competitive football competitions. We are looking forward to participating in the event in 2018 in Singapore," said ex-Red Devil Nicky Butt, who is now Manchester United's Head of Academy.

Added Luis Vicente Mateo, Valencia's Youth Academy Director: "Singapore is a special place for Valencia. Youth development is integral to our football pipeline and it is important that our players are able to take part in good competitions.”

Valencia are owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim and the event will mark the first time the club takes part in a youth football competition in Singapore.

We were disappointed to be knocked out in sudden death in the semi-finals and hope to go one better this time around

- Fulham FC

Fulham will mark their return to the event, as they were one of the teams which participated in the competition held earlier this year at the Padang.

Fulham Academy Director Huw Jennings commented: “The JSSL 7s was a unique experience last year and we are delighted to be returning in 2018. The event was organised professionally and provided our players with a fantastic football and life experience.

"We were disappointed to be knocked out in sudden death in the semi-finals and hope to go one better this time around.”

Apart from Fulham FC, Bangkok United, Sporting Lisbon, Penang FC and Perth Glory were among the teams which took part in the 2017 edition, with Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon emerging as champions. 

Last season's under-14 division one champions

Meanwhile, the JSSL Super League teams resumed their battle last weekend after a one-week break as they near the midway point of the season.

In total 68 games were held at the weekend, involving 136 teams and over 2000 players at HQ Area, UWC East and Turf City the Cage.

With an eye on the JSSL Singapore 7s and Professional Academies tournament coming up in just a few months, there was action across the multiple age-groups despite the heat and humidity.

“It was another action packed Super League Sunday at the weekend with some 2,000 children back in action enjoying their league football," said JSSL Executive Director and former England international Paul Parker.

"Standards are high and it was wonderful that the teams have continued to develop, from the six and seven-year-olds all the way up to the 16s.”

Now into their 13th season, the JSSL Leagues are the most extensive youth competitions available in Singapore for players between the ages of six to 16, with 200 League competing from 22 clubs.

Photos: JSSL 7s