Stevenage against Cruzeiro is not a fixture you’ll expect to see anywhere other than maybe on Football Manager. But it will happen for real tomorrow when the scholars from north Hertfordshire take on the boys from Brazil in the IMG Cup tournament in Bradenton, Florida.
Stevenage flew out to Orlando on Sunday and have had two days to acclimatise to the heat and get over the jet-lag before facing a game a day for the rest of the week.
Academy manager Darren Sarll has taken all his Under-18 squad including injured players, so they all get the chance to experience what could be a once in a lifetime trip. The opportunity came about through a director at Boro and was snapped up by the academy who lost their last game 4-1 to Barnet in The Football League Youth Alliance.
Stevenage will also face Baltimore Celtic, the US national team Under-17s and Mexico’s Queretaro in the Boys Invitational Cup Super Group.
They play the US on Thursday night (Friday morning UK time), Baltimore on Saturday morning (afternoon UK time) and finish against Queretaro Under-18s on Sunday morning, a game that kicks off at the unusual and challenging time of 8am!
In the other half of the draw are local neighbours Tottenham Hotspur (who they lost narrowly to in the FA Youth Cup last year) hosts The IMG Academy Under-18s and Alliance Academy from Missouri.