Essex County Executive Divincenzo announces international youth soccer tournament will be played in Essex County Riverbank and Independence parks from June 23 to 25

NEWARK – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that an international youth soccer tournament will be played in Essex County from June 23 to 25. The Ironbound Soccer Club is hosting the La Liga Promises 2017 International Under 12 Boys Soccer Tournament, which will take place in Essex County Riverfront Park and Essex County Independence Park.

“One of our ongoing initiatives has been to upgrade our recreation facilities so that young athletes in recreation programs, school teams and organized clubs have modern fields on which to play and compete. Welcoming the La Liga Promises tournament to our fields in Riverbank and Independence is a testament to the high quality and pristine condition of our parks,” DiVincenzo said. “We applaud the Ironbound Soccer Club for lobbying to bring this prestigious international tournament to our backyard. It will be a great weekend of sports entertainment and an opportunity to highlight our historic parks system,” he added.

Twelve teams from six countries will be competing in the La Liga Promises 2017 International Under 12 Boys Soccer Tournament, which is widely considered the Premier U12 Tournament in the World. Among the teams participating are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal from Spain; Benfica from Portugal; Inter Milan from Italy; Club America from Mexico; Nacional de Medellin from Colombia; and NYCFC and Ironbound SC from the United States.

Preliminary round robin games will be played on June 23 and 24, with the top eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals on the afternoon of June 24. The semifinals and the Championship Final will be held in the morning on June 25. An All-Star game with players not participating in the final will be played between the semifinals and final matches.

All games, which will be played 7-on-7 format, will be held at Essex County Independence Park and Essex County Riverbank Park in the Ironbound Section of Newark. Riverbank Park will be temporarily transformed into a “mini-stadium” with seating for 3,300 people, an LED electronic advertising system around the field, and a giant scoreboard. All games at Riverbank Park will be televised live in Spain and broadcast to 65 countries. Independence Park will have additional seating as well for the preliminary games on Friday and Saturday morning.

In addition to the competition, all the Spanish Teams take part in a cultural learning component to the event. This year’s group will take a guided boat tour around Manhattan and visit Essex County Turtle Back Zoo. The intent is to foster sportsmanship and friendship at a young age to youngsters with tremendous talent and who have promising careers ahead of them.

“At this historic moment, we must thank our local government officials who played a deciding role in making this event possible. We would not be hosting this event but for the collaboration of Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and his staff. Phil Alagia, Executive DiVincenzo’s Chief of Staff, immediately and enthusiastically offered to do whatever was necessary to have the event here in Essex County. Mr. Alagia delivered the necessary assurances from the Essex County Parks Department and Sheriff Armando Fontoura to comfort La Liga and Foundation representatives who had serious problems when trying to host the event in NYC, which was there original plan,” Albert Coutinho, Chairman of Ironbound SC, said. “Furthermore, we are thankful to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Councilman Augusto Amador who are also collaborating with the event,” he added.

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