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Tournaments Apr 02, 2021

ALBION SC launches ALBION CUP Spain, set to kickoff in 2022

By Adam Schwager
SoccerWire Staff Writer

This week, ALBION SC, the San Diego-based youth club that has run the highly-touted ALBION CUP for over 20 years, announced the creation of the ALBION CUP Spain, an invitation-only international youth tournament that will take place in August 2022.

Aiming to become the premier youth soccer showcase in the world for competition and scouting, ALBION CUP has partnered with European Soccer Solutions (ESS) and Athletic Bilbao to organize the 10-day event. Top teams from the United States and around the world will be able to compete, train, be scouted and take in the culture of Northern Spain.

While this is not the first tournament to host teams from all over the world, lots of the alternatives have their strengths and weaknesses that ALBION CUP Spain hopes to take to the next level.

For example, another European tournament has similar elements to ALBION CUP Spain, but the games played at the tournament aren’t full-length.

“It’s really hard to go across the world to play 25-minute halves,” CEO of ALBION SC Noah Gins told SoccerWire. “So what we did is we basically took the best of ESS and the best of ALBION CUP and all the learning experiences from years and years and years [of hosting ALBION CUP].”

While ALBION CUP Spain will have plenty of perks for all teams involved, including chances to train and meet with La Liga staff, attend a La Liga game and sightsee around Northern Spain and France, the primary objective of the tournament is to have the best competition they possibly can.

ALBION CUP has already confirmed the attendance of multiple pro clubs along the likes of Real Sociedad, SD Eibar and Deportivo Alaves. They have started to recruit top teams from all over the world, including clubs within Brazil and Japan. Overall, there will be 60 teams attending the event, with the goal to have two top American teams and two International teams per group.

The event has set up a 5-man acceptance committee, with two representatives from ESS, two representatives from ALBION CUP and an independent tiebreaking representative to make the final decision on the teams attending.

As for the American teams, Gins wants to make sure that the tournament consists of the best teams in America, not just the best teams that can afford to play.

“We don’t want to just have teams sign up, we want the best and if we have to help give them fundraising tools we want to help, bottom line we want the best teams in the world to participate in this,” Gins said. “Being able to showcase teams internationally against top international teams with all elements to provide for the players, teams and staff will be the differentiator.”

For the teams that do attend, their itinerary over the 12-day event is packed. Every team plays a minimum of four games, with many teams getting to play six. In addition, ALBION CUP Spain will take advantage of ESS’s infrastructure which will allow them to sightsee in San Sebastián, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, visit Real Sociedad’s Zubieta training complex and Anoeta Stadium and attend a La Liga game.

They’ll have access to first-team resources from Athletico Bilbao, who will also send teams to play in the event. Even more importantly, they will get exposure to pro scouts from some of the top clubs across the world.

“Most kids in the US, their exposure is college coaches, so this is going to be pro scouts and pro opportunities that springboard out of this,” Gins said. “We’re going to have a total immersion into the Spanish culture… you’re not just going to go there and play the games and be done, you’re going to get to experience pro clubs, the culture, the food, the people, and just get a really, really, really good insight into Spanish football.”

ALBION CUP Spain will take place next summer, August 3-14 2022.