From 11 to 13 August 2016 (starting at 11:00 on Thursday), 12 teams from eleven nations across four continents are to again compete at the Red Bull Football and Ice Hockey Adacemy in Liefering. The opening match (at 12:00) sees defending champions FC Red Bull Salzburg face top Japanese club Sagan Tosu.
The NGT has taken place at the Red Bull Academy since 2014
retaining title sets benchmark
The business of retaining the title at the Next Generation Trophy has not been an easy one - at least until FC Red Bull Salzburg's U16s last year managed to successfully defend their crown. The Red Bulls' third tournament win in the last seven years consolidates the hosts' position as record winners, as no other team has ever managed to win twice.
Celebrating the Next Generation Trophy double
NEXT GENERATION TROPHY as a springboard
By now several big talents have graced the annual tournament in Salzburg and then gone on to make a big name for themselves in football. For instance, in the first edition in 2009, Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid won the top goalscorer's trophy. The Spanish attacker won the Champions League in 2014 with Los Blancos, before reaching the final with Juventus a year later. Mateo Kovacic has also appeared in the tournament. He was part of the Croatian squad in EURO 2016, and also won this year's Champions League for Real Madrid, having previously represented Inter Milan. Youri Tielemans, on the other hand, has remained in the ranks of RSC Anderlecht, and appeared many times for the Belgians in domestic and European competitions.
There have also been a few players to make the leap from the FC Red Bull Salzburg academy to the Austrian Bundesliga. For instance, Konny Laimer, who has played for the Red Bulls in almost every age group, last year starred with some wonderful performances as the club took the Austrian double - just like Valentino Lazaro, who was voted Player of the Tournament in 2011. Daniel Offenbacher, who captained the Young Bulls in the 2009 tournament, now plays for Wolfsberger AC having made played over 100 games for Sturm Graz.
The Red Bulls' model youth player: Konrad Laimer
INTERNATIONAL GUESTS FROM eleven countries and four continents
The good reputation of the Next Generation Trophy has spread around European football in recent years to make the tournament a vital fixture on the calendar of many top teams. Along with the already traditional participants of Manchester City FC and the Red Bull Academy Teams from Leipzig, Brazil and New York – there are a few more top-class teams taking part this year. Youngsters from international names like Sagan Tosu, FC Cukaricki, Benfica, FC Midtjylland and Valencia are to appear. Another major German club is to take part in SV Werder Bremen. Last but not least are the West African Football Academy, who last year were beaten by the Young Bulls in the final.
Iberian Clasico: Benfica v Valencia CF
Ernst Tanner (Youth & Academy Head):
In 2016 we have again managed to put together a top-class field of participants. We are these days getting numerous queries from teams who would like to take part in the Next Generation Trophy - that attests to the quality of our tournament and the reputation we have gained for it across Europe.
I am looking forward to the eighth edition of our under-16 tournament and the international comparison with the other teams, which is of really great importance in our academy work, in particular.
Gerhard Struber (AKA U16 coach):
There is an immense sense of anticipation for us as the Next Generation Trophy offers us the ideal way to see where we stand before the league starts. The tournament has developed massively in recent years, and the quality of the teams taking part has continually gone upwards. You can speak about a true top-class event without any sense of exaggeration - which only furthers our desire to do well.
It would be very presumptuous to talk about a third win in a row at this point, as the difference between victory and defeat is very fine in such a big and intensive tournament with so many well-known teams. We want to bring the manner that defines our football onto the pitch as best we can. If we manage that, I am optimistic that we will do well again and have some good results.
Sebastian Aigner (AKA U16 player):
We have gone to watch the tournament a lot in the past few years, and we have been able to get a good overview of the tournament and its value - which helps us now to prepare for it. For a young player, these kinds of events are always something special, particularly when you want to put in as good as display as possible as the home team and get good results. We are already looking forward to comparing ourselves to other top club teams from across the world, and we can't wait for the three days of the tournament.