Bermuda's best young footballers will get the chance to test themselves against top American club sides in an new tournament to be held in Bermuda in February.

The island will have under-13, under-14 and under-15 national teams in action as the first ever Clyde Best Invitational tournament kicks off at the national stadium.

Held over the President's Day weekend the tournament has created a nationwide buzz with youngsters across the island competing for the chance to represent their country.

Trials have been taking place over the past few weeks with some of the island's highest profile coaches running the rule over recruits from the Bermuda Football Association youth leagues.

Now they have whittled the numbers down and three squads of 25-30 players are in full-scale training for the tournament.

Richard Calderon, of the Football Foundation, said the idea was to provide high-quality competitive matches for Bermuda's best youngsters.

He said he hoped the tournament, which will feature five teams (including the Bermuda national selects) in each age-category, would become an annual fixture.

"We want to provide kids with the opportunity to play against top US teams from the earliest possible age."

He said the Connecticut Olympic Development team and a couple of state champions from the U.S. would be among those lining up in Bermuda on February 17. Each team will play four matches in a round robin group over the two days.

U.S. company Elite Tournaments, which organizes several youth tournaments each year, helped hook up with the teams, largely from the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

Government has provided sponsorship to cover the cost of the fields and the buses to and from the hotels, but the teams are largely paying their own way.

"Our major push has been to improve local youth football and to improve football in general.

"If you follow the philosophy of some of the top countries in the world that is when they take them - from 13-15.

"Most coaches will tell you that is the critical age group in terms of active development."

Trojans head coach Dennis Brown has taken charge of the under-13s along with Troy Lewis and Winston Trott.

PHC's Mark Wade and Ray Jones are bossing the under-14s while Dandy Town's Maurice Lowe and Scott Morton are heading up the under-15s.

BFA technical director Mark Trott said each squad still had 25-30 players, but would have to be cut to 19 before the tournament.

"There were a number of talented players so we decided to keep the numbers high," he added.

Trott added that the BFA was also looking at keeping its youth teams in training and hopefully participating in the Dallas Cup - a prestigious tournament featuring some of the top academy teams from Europe and the States.

"Everything is subject to funding but we have been told we can enter that tournament as well."