Recently crowned Carabao Cup winners Manchester United will once again be on their way to SuperCupNI later on in the summer.
The Old Trafford giants are one of the headline acts in a 16 strong Premier Section and after success in the Junior category last summer, the Red Devils will be aiming to secure their first Premier title since 2014.
Indeed, one of the stars of their last success in 2014, Marcus Rashford, has gone on to become a global star and is currently one of Europe’s in form strikers.
United are joined in the Premier Section by Carabao Cup runners-up Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion, who are making their debut at the tournament.
SuperCupNI chairman Victor Leonard said Manchester United’s support for the tournament is testament to how well respected it is among decision makers at Old Trafford.
“Over our 40-year history, we have been incredibly well supported by Manchester United and in the past the tournament has acted as a launchpad for their young players to go on and make their mark for the first team.
“They are always incredibly well supported at the tournament and attract large crowds at every game.
“I know from the conversations we have on a regular basis with Nick Cox, head of the academy, that it is a tournament their young players look forward to and they are told about how the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga used their experiences at the tournament to progress into the first team and become household names.”
The Old Trafford side are joined in the tournament by Newcastle United, who last appeared at the tournament in 2019 when they were defeated by a classy Valencia side.
Leonard said it was exciting to see two further Premier League sides confirm their place in the Premier Section.
“Over the last decade we have been well supported by Newcastle United and they have a rich history in the tournament. It is also exciting to see Brighton and Hove Albion making their debut. They have had a real breakthrough year in the Premier League and the model they have in place at the club focuses on bringing through young players and providing them with opportunities to perform in the Premier League.”
Scottish giants Rangers also confirmed their place in the Premier Section. The Glaswegian outfit were runners-up last year in the Junior tournament and first team manager Michael Beale is a huge supporter of the tournament and he brought over teams from Chelsea when he was involved with their Academy.
A Surf Select side from the United States is joined by North East Rush, who primarily attract players from the North East coast of the United States and will make their debut in the male section, having played in the female section last summer.
Japanese side Ichifuna will return to the tournament for the first since 2018 and they are joined by Liga MX side Tigres UANL from Monterrey who are one of Mexico’s biggest clubs and they will expect to challenge for honours in what is a hotly contested Premier category.
The six home counties will all have their sights set on progressing to the latter stages of the tournament and they are joined by a select team from the Dundalk Schoolboys League, who are long term supporters of the tournament and North Dublin side St Kevin’s Boys FC.
The Dubliners are widely recognised as having one of the best youth setups on the island and the likes of Robbie Brady, Damien Duff and rising star Evan Ferguson have all starred for the Whitehall based outfit. In their last appearance back in 2007, the Dubliners with Brady in their line up made it all the way to the Junior decider before losing out to Chivas.
The 2023 tournament kicks off on Sunday 23rd July with the welcoming ceremony in Coleraine and concludes with finals day on Friday 28th July. Matches will be played across three council areas, Causeway, Coast and Glens, Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.