The 19th Republic Bank National Youth League will kick off at 9 am tomorrow at the Constantine Grounds, Macoya with matches in the North and East Zones.
There will be sixty teams, each 11-a -side, with three age groups including under-10, under-12 and under-14.
Over the next four weeks, the matches will be played in five zones — North, East, Central, South and Tobago.
The top eight teams from the “Zonal Play-offs” will enter the national quarter-finals and the national finals will be played on August 23.
The Republic Bank National Youth League started as a “Five A Side Community Tournament” and changed to a “7 A Side Festival” until 2013 when it was agreed that the league would fit the demand for an 11- a-side tournament for the younger age groups.
Yesterday, Anthony Harford, head of All Sport Promotions and organiser of the league, hailed its contribution to local football.
“Two years ago we realised there was a need for the younger age group to have a good grounding so we started the eleven-a-side and we chose the three youngest age groups because we believe this is where they need to start,” he explained.
Harford believes this tournament will help aspiring footballers hone their skills properly and ultimately raise the standard of the Secondary Schools Football League.
“This is the key. It is these kids who you get to stay in the game; who you prepare for secondary school football and national football. These kids are of primary school age and early secondary school (age). There is a natural transition from here now so we now have a system in place where the Republic Youth League is Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Secondary School is Under-16 and from there you transition to club life,” he continued.
Commenting on the level of talent exhibited in the competition Harford said: “Most of these clubs are serious football clubs. Because we’ve gone to eleven-a-side, the people who just play for the fun have fallen by the wayside. What you have here are the serious clubs,” he concluded.
East Zone, Saturday - Constantine Grounds, Macoya
9 am: Santa Rosa FC vs Tunapuna Titans
10 am: La Florissant vs Santa Cruz Football Academy
11 am: Tunapuna Titans vs La Florissant
12 pm: Santa Rosa FC vs Santa Cruz Football Academy
1 pm: Santa Rosa FC vs La Florissant
2 pm: Tunapuna Titans vs Santa Cruz Football Academy
9 am: Santa Rosa FC vs WASA FC
10 am: Santa Cruz Football Academy vs Malabar Young Stars
11 am: WASA FC vs Santa Cruz Football Academy
12 am: Santa Rosa FC vs Malabar Young Stars
1 pm: Santa Rosa FC vs Santa Cruz Football Academy
2 pm: WASA FC vs Malabar Young Stars
North Zone, Saturday - Casual Corner, Queens’s Park Savannah
9 am: Trendsetter Hawks vs SKHY
10 am: Laventille United Sports Club vs Ranger
11 am: Trendsetter Hawks vs P&D Coaching School
12 pm: SKHY vs Rangers
1 pm: Laventille United Sports Club vs P&D Coaching School
9 am: Trendsetter Hawks vs Rangers
10 am: Harvard vs Laventille United Sports Club
11 am: Rangers vs Harvard
12 pm: Trendsetter Hawks vs Laventille United Sports Club
1 pm: Trendsetter Hawks vs Harvard
2 pm: Rangers vs Laventille United Sport Club
East Zone, Sunday - Constantine Grounds, Macoya
9 am: Jabloteh vs Malabar Young Stars
10 am: Malabar Young Stars vs Acono Football Academy
11 am: Jabloteh vs Acono Football Academy
12 pm: Jabloteh vs Malabar Young Stars
1 pm: Malabar Young Stars vs Acono Football Academy
2 pm: Jabloteh vs Acono Football Academy
9 am: Jabloteh vs Tunapuna Titans
10 am: Joe Public vs Tunapuna Titans
11 am: Jabloteh vs Joe Public
12 pm: Jabloth vs Tunapuna Titans
1 pm: Tunapuna Titans vs Joe Public
2 pm: Jabloteh vs Joe Public