Stefan Dill is one of the goalkeepers for the under-14s
Stefan Dill is one of the goalkeepers for the under-14s
The Clyde Best Invitational could become an annual tournament pitting Bermuda's youth teams against even more American club sides.

That's the hope of Richard Calderon of the Bermuda Football Foundation ahead of the inaugural event this weekend.

Calderon said he was under no illusions about uncovering the next Clyde Best at the weekend tournament.

But he said the main aim was to expose Bermuda's kids early in their careers to the competition they would face in the States.

"The tournament will expose them to what will possibly be their competition for college scholarships in a few years time.

"If people are looking for a big spectacle, it's not going to happen. What we are putting on is a tournament that provides some age level competition to expose our kids as early as possible.

"I watch youth football every week and there is some real talent out there, I'll be interested to see how they do."

Calderon said it was important for Bermuda to stay competitive with the U.S., which was producing some of the best teams in the world at age-group level.

He said Elite Tournaments, a US based company which uses a database of teams from across the States to help organizers put on events like this weekend's invitational, had recruited the opposition, which includes Super-Y-League players and three Olympic Development Teams.

"Several of these teams will be of a very high quality. If you look at U.S. soccer today on the world stage, their under-17 and under-20 teams are consistently among the best in the world.

"All too often teams underestimate U.S. football, but they do so at their peril. It's definitely a good level to compete with."

He said he hoped to be able to organize the tournament again next year - possibly on a larger scale with more teams involved.

"I think most people agree that a consistent level of exposure has to be the long term plan for our young players.

"I'd like to think that with the recent cash infusion from the Bermuda government we will see our youth teams in various competitions over the next few years."