An Everton Under-19 squad will jet out to the United States on Thursday to take part in the Dallas Cup.
A 20-man party, led by Academy coach Paul Tait and assisted by Sean Lundon, will be the Premier League’s only representatives as reward for winning the Under-18 league title last term.
The young Blues will arrive on Thursday evening local time ahead of their first game against Argentine giants River Plate at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on the opening day on Sunday 29 March.
The Toffees will then face LA Galaxy on Monday 30 March, before completing their involvement in the group stage with a match against Japanese outfit Ryutsu-Keizai on Wednesday 1 April.
The winners of each of the three groups, plus the best runner-up, will progress to the semi-finals on Friday 3 April, before the final at the Toyota Stadium on Sunday 5 April.
It will be the third time the Toffees have appeared in the competition, with previous visits in 1999 and 2012.
Coach Tait believes the experience will be a huge benefit to the Club's youngsters. He told evertonfc.com: “We're massively looking forward to it. I think it's an amazing opportunity for the lads and it's one that you can't get anywhere else.
“It's going to be a huge challenge with the big teams that we will play against - but it's going to be so important for the players' development and we're all very much looking forward to it.
“To play River Plate in our opening game and on the opening day will be fantastic.
“We have a little bit of footage of them from a game against Boca Juniors, so we will study that and highlight areas where we may be able to exploit and also have a look at where they can be dangerous as well.
“We will sit down when we arrive, have a video session to discuss things and then get fully prepared out on the training pitch for the first game.
“There has been a real sense of excitement among the lads who will be going.”
Tait has also spoken to Ross Barkley, who was involved in the 2012 squad that made the trip over the Atlantic.
The Wavertree-born midfielder echoed Tait’s sentiment and believes the experience helped him to accelerate his development into the first team.
“I actually spoke to Ross for five minutes and he told me how much he enjoyed the experience when he went a few years ago,” added Tait. “He also said how important he thinks it’ll be for the players’ development, which I think tells you everything you need to know.
“We’re representing the Premier League, so we want to give a really good account of ourselves, and we are ready to do that.
“Roberto [Martinez] was also really positive about it, he knows what the Dallas Cup is all about and he was keen for us to take our best possible team over.”
Everton squad to travel to the Dallas Cup: Bainbridge, Birch, Brewster, Donohue, Dowell, Dyson, Graham, Green, Henen, Hewelt, Langton, O’Loughlin, Robinson, Walsh, Connolly, Davies, Holland, Kenny, Ledson, Yates.
Six of the group – Connolly, Davies, Holland, Kenny, Ledson and Yates – will fly out to join the squad before the opening game after completing international duty with England.
evertonfc.com will be travelling out to the States with the squad keep a lookout for regular updates over the course of the tournament.