The Americans are in town and taking the plunge with another assault on the Milk Cup as the tournament kicks off again this week.
It has been three years since the USA national team lifted the Elite title at the international youth tournament and skipper Jordan Allen is hoping to put that record right.
“This is a major challenge for us and we are ready. The welcome we have received so far has been mind blowing,” he said.
The USA arrived early for their quest for glory and some of their players enjoyed the chance to keep cool in the pool as well as taking in some of the local sights. On Friday the party visited the Giant’s Causeway.
Back in 2010 the US, inspired by defender Gale Agbossoumonde who now plays MLS with Toronto, beat Northern Ireland in the Elite decider, making amends for losing out in their only other appearance in the final when they lost to Paraguay four years earlier.
The Northern Ireland side included former Rangers goalkeeper Wayne Drummond who earlier this summer signed for Coleraine, Derry City defender Dean Jarvis, then with Aberdeen and Linfield’s Aaron Burns whose heroics were not quite enough to help the Blues over the line in their Europa League clash with Greek side Xanthi at Windsor Park.
Many of the 44 competing teams have now arrived including the Japanese national U-15 squad who are competing in the Junior event and players from as far away as Chile, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Denmark, France and Denmark.
The action kicked off on Monday after another packed out parade of teams through Coleraine town centre to the Showgrounds where Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill unfurled the tournament flag in front of large crowd of spectators who packed out the Ballycastle Road venue once more.