International date for Academy

West Ham United's stars of tomorrow have been invited to showcase their skills on the Atlantic island of Bermuda .

Academy Director Tony Carr has travelled to Bermuda with West Ham's Under-15 and U16 squads for the annual Clyde Best Invitational Football Tournament this weekend. Despite strong winds when the squad arrived earlier this week, spirits are high ahead of the action getting started.

The invitation came about as a result of the positive work done by the West Ham United International Academy in North America and its relationship with Bermuda Football Association technical director Derek Broadley.

The trip also provides the starting point of a partnership between the International Academy, which has been established to develop an Academy presence across the US, Canada and beyond, and the Bermudan FA.

The event, being led by former Hammers favourite Clyde Best for the fourth time this year, will see the Hammers take on two local youth teams and youngsters from French Ligue 1 club AS Saint-Etienne on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Carr said the trip would be a hugely valuable experience for the young players taking part.

"The tournament has been about six months in the organising," confirmed the Academy Director. "West Ham fans will know Clyde very well, and we both came to the club at about the same time and played in the same youth team together. We have kept in touch over the years and he is now working for the Bermuda FA.

"This is their inaugural international youth tournament and he thought it would be fitting that West Ham United represent Great Britain at his festival of football.

"The whole trip has been sponsored by the Bermuda FA, which is a fantastic gesture, and it will be a great experience for our U15s and U16s to take part, and nice for me to bump into Clyde again."

With the U18s having a free weekend from FA Premier Academy League action, Carr said he was looking forward to leading the club's young schoolboys into a totally alien environment.

"The U18s have not got a game this Saturday. It freed me up to be able to go on this trip to Bermuda. The whole trip will be part of their education. We normally go to Europe because of the proximity, but as the older boys get invitations to far-flung places and it is a great experience for them.

"We have taken the older ones to Hong Kong for the last few years [for the HKFC IPL Global International Soccer Sevens] and we took a team to Japan before.

"We have visited the United States a couple of times and with the Clyde Best/West Ham connection, it is fitting that we have been asked to be involved. We are happy to be here.

"Our first game is against Saint-Etienne on Friday, and that will be a tough batptism. We had a couple of days training on Wednesday and Thursday before we play with the tournament being held over the weekend."

For more information about the tournament, click here.