Maccabi Tel Aviv’s youth academy will tomorrow host a three-day international youth tournament for the third year in a row after two very successful previous events.

England’s Crystal Palace, S.B.V. Excelsior of Rotterdam from The Netherlands and Grasshopper Club Zurich from Switzerland will participate alongside the hosts, Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Beersheba. The event will take place at Maccabi Tel Aviv’s PenguinPickUp training facility at Kiryat Shalom between January 23-25.

Here is a brief look at Grasshopper Club Zurich who are taking part for the first time. The outfit is the most successful Swiss side, with 27 league titles. They are currently second in the standings and have included six players who came through their youth development programme. Grasshoppers’ youth team are currently in fourth place in their division and their mainstay are players from the under-17 age bracket.

Grasshoppers are a side well known to our supporters: Munas Dabbur, who played for the outfit, is a product of the Maccabi Tel Aviv Academy and who played for us for two and a half seasons. He signed with Grasshoppers in 2014 and played for them for two and a half seasons too, making 89 first-team appearances and scoring 26 goals. From Zurich Dabbur moved to Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, and then to Sevilla in Spain. He is currently with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

These are some notable players to have turned out for Grasshoppers:

Shani Tarashaj: The 24-year-old forward joined Grasshoppers’ youth academy at age 13 and made his debut for the full team at age 19. He made 37 appearances and scored nine goals in a season and a half with Grasshoppers before signing for Everton in January 2016. He has since been on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt and Dutch side FC Emmen. 

Nedim Bajrami: Macedonia native Bajrami immigrated to Switzerland at young age and spent all of his youth career with Grasshoppers. He signed his first professional contract in 2017. Last August the attacking midfielder joined Italian Serie B club Empoli on loan with an option to buy.

Johann Vogel: Geneva-born Vogel’s first club was Grasshoppers where the midfielder made 133 appearances and scored 13 goals. As a youth, he played for amateur club Meyrin until joining the Zurich outfit in 1992. He later went on to play for a number of European clubs including AC Milan, Betis and Blackburn Rovers.