Toronto FC academy to play in prestigious Viareggio Cup

Toronto FC Academy players - in action against Houston

Toronto FC III, Toronto FC's U-20 academy team have been invited to participate in the 69th edition of the prestigious Viareggio Cup, and there they'll face one of the global heavyweights of soccer.

The tournament, taking place March 13-29 in Viareggio, Italy, pits TFC III in Group A, Pool 1 against Serie A giants Juventus, who have won the tournament nine times, including in 2016, as well as Czech side Dukla Prague – the tournament's most successful non-Italian team with six titles – and Italian club SS Maceratese.

The group stage games will be played March 13, March 15 and March 18. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the tournament's knockout round.

“We are very excited to be going up against some of the top European academies in the world,” said Toronto FC III head coach Danny Dichio in a team statement. “This is a great opportunity for our young athletes to play meaningful matches that are televised nationally and played in front of a large number of fans.”

TFC are the first MLS team to participate in the Viareggio Cup, and the 40-team tournament includes academy teams from some of the world’s top clubs such as Napoli (Italy), Internazionale (Italy), AC Milan (Italy), FC Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia) and PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands).