Learn more about the latest tournament to be added to Wyscout’s expanded Youth Competitions Pack and discover some of the stars from this year’s edition.

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The Copa Mitad del Mundo is one of the premier youth competitions in Latin America and serves as an excellent opportunity to see some of the continent’s top teenage talents.

Now in its seventh year, the tournament is organized by Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle (IDV), who have established themselves as one of the top developers of youth talent in South America.

In under two decades, IDV have transformed from a third-tier club to two-time Copa Sudamericana winners, serial U20 Libertadores finalists and the cradle for the core of the Ecuador senior national team

Their most notable academy graduate is Moises Caicedo - who recently made a British transfer record £115 million move to Chelsea - but they have also produced internationals like Piero Hincapie, Willian Pacho and Gonzalo Plata, to name but a few. 

Given that Caicedo initially moved from IDV to Brighton for around £4.5 million, it highlights the savings that can be made through intelligent early recruitment, as well as the potential return on initial investment, when a scouting department with an effective strategy is equipped with Wyscout for senior and youth football. 

Soon to follow in their footsteps is Kendry Paez, who starred at last year’s Copa Mitad del Mundo. Still only 16 years old, Paez became the second youngest South American to debut for their national team - only behind Diego Maradona - and is set to join compatriot Caicedo at Chelsea in 2025, albeit for a far less inflated fee.

Kendry Paez starring for IDV in the Copa Mitad del Mundo 2022

One of the latest tournaments to be added to Wyscout’s new and improved Youth Competitions Pack, let’s have a look at everything you need to know about the Copa Mitad del Mundo…


The Copa Mitad del Mundo is hosted in Sangolquí, situated just south of Ecuador’s capital Quito, at IDV’s state-of-the-art facilities. 

The majority of the games take place at IDV’s high-performance Ciudad Deportiva, a continent-leading training complex comprising seven pitches, hi-tech gym, audiovisual analysis rooms and lodgings for academy players. For the semi-finals and final, the showpiece matches take place at IDV’s home stadium, the Estadio Banco Guayaquil.


The competition usually takes place in July or August. This year it ran from August 2 through to August 12

Who is involved? 

This year’s competition was expanded to 16 teams - doubling the amount of teams previously involved - and featured U18 teams from around Latin America. 

In this year’s edition, hosts IDV and their reserve side Independiente Juniors participated, along with the Ecuador U17 national team, making up a strong local contingent, while there were also club representation from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Paraguay and Mexico.

What is the format?

In its current guise, the Copa Mitad del Mundo comprises an initial group stage of four groups of four teams. The top two of each advance to the quarter finals, while the remaining teams go into a classification round, ensuring that everyone plays six times and determining a final placing of 1 to 16 for all teams involved.

Copa Mitad del Mundo 2023

IDV reclaimed their title on home soil to make it a fourth Copa Mitad del Mundo victory for los Negriazules, beating the U17 national team 2-1 in an all-Ecuadorian final.

IDV have forged their identity as a possession-based side and have implemented their game model throughout the club - part of what has made them such a successful team in bringing through young talent.

Their Copa Mitad del Mundo winning U18 side were no different, bossing the stats in various passing metrics. Averaging 63.1% ball possession, IDV made more passes than any other team with 2454 completed passes and an accuracy of 86.3% and they were unmatched for through balls (60), balls to the final third (331) and passing rate (13.5 passes per minute).

IDV also had the most shots (17.72 per 90) and pressed the opposition high up the pitch, as demonstrated by their PPDA of 6.68, which was second only to Talleres.

Despite having lots of shots and possession, their xG per shot of 0.106 was lower than the tournament average (0.11) but they were still joint-third highest scorers. Their 10 goals were in-line with their xG of 8.99, suggesting that they created a good amount of goal-scoring chances and had the quality to take those opportunities.

By looking at the stats around xG, we can see that Uruguayan side Peñarol and beaten finalists Ecuador were the sides that over-performed their underlying numbers in front of goal. This could indicate a number of conclusions, such as boasting superior finishing, being potent from more speculative shots or potentially even benefiting from a bit of luck.

Despite Red Bull Bragantino and Sporting Cristal appearing lower in this metric, they were two of the tournament's higher scorers, suggesting that perhaps with better finishing or more fortune, they could have scored even more.

Standout Players

As demonstrated by the graph below, Universidad Catolica forward Juan Francisco Rossel was one of the top attacking players on display at the 2023 Copa Mitad del Mundo. The Chilean had the joint most direct goal involvements, with 5 goals and 1 assist, and no player had more shots (24) or touches in the penalty box (38).

Another of the top scorers who charted highly was Ecuador U17 striker Allen Obando. As well as his four goals, Obando had the highest xG of 3.17 in the competition, demonstrating his ability to get into good scoring positions and the ability to take his chances. Strong in the air and clinical in the box, Obando has already made his debut for Barcelona de Guayaquil and recently scored his first senior goal.

One of the revelations of the tournament came in Obando’s teammate, Erick Zambrano. Despite being just 15 years old, Zambrano topped Copa Mitad del Mundo for assists (3) and recently became the youngest player to debut in the Ecuadorian LigaPro - besting the record previously set by the aforementioned Kendry Paez.

Dubbed the ‘Cavani of Orense’ due to his physical similarities to the Uruguayan striker, Zambrano was the tournament’s leading player for offensive efficiency. Calculated by comparing the difference between a combined expected goals and assists with their actual output, we can see the players who had the highest outperformance.

Also jumping out of the offensive efficiency numbers are RB Bragantino’s top scorer Gabriel Andrade and another Ecuador youth international, Michael Bermudez. The duo has the best goals per minute ratios - 1.54 and 1.9 per 90 respectively - and perhaps could have ranked higher if they had been afforded more minutes.

Finally, a player who scored highly on both of the previous metrics was Atletico Huila’s Tomas Diaz. The 18-year-old Colombian left-footed winger was named as player of the tournament after scoring 4 goals and impressing with his technique, dynamism and ball carrying. 

Huila, who are now owned by the same owners as IDV and will hope to replicate a similar model to the Ecuadorian upstarts, look to have a real gem on their hands.