The 2019 edition of the JSSL competition saw 450 participating teams, more than 20,000 players, officials, family members and fans from across 17 countries around the world making their participation, making this year’s event the largest ever since the inaugural event in 2013 which started off with 40 teams.
In the boys tournament, England’s young Gunners from Arsenal were crowned champions in the boys category after casting aside Australia’s Perth Glory 2-0. It was a hattrick of final appearances since 2017 for Glory they have ended up as runners-up on all occasions.
“It has been an honour to be here. Singapore is a special country with special people. At a club like Arsenal, there is always an expectation of winning, whether it is the first team or in the Academy. We would love to come back to the JSSL Professional Academy 7s next year if we have an opportunity," said Arsenal’s Academy Head Coach Dan Micciche.
In becoming the champions, Arsenal were the only team that remained undefeated throughout the tournament. Breezing past their group in top spot ahead of Atletico Madrid, they went on to narrowly beat Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim 1-0 in the semi-final.
The young JDT side recovered from their slow start but improved as the competition went on. Defeating English side Fulham at the quarterfinal stage was a real positive for them. But they weren't the only Asian side to gain experience from the competition with the likes of Bangkok United, Urawa Reds and Persib Bandung also featuring in the competition.
This year also saw for the first time the Girls Professional Academy 7s category being introduced and Atletico Madrid emerged as the inaugural winner after they beat Barcelona 5 to nothing in the final. A new category which the Asian teams did not miss out with Chonburi FC and JSSL FC making the fold.