CHICAGO (April 17, 2023) - The Chicago Fire Academy U-15 and U-17 teams travelled to Florida last weekend, to compete in the 2023 Generation adidas Cup, a premier youth soccer tournament that took place from April 1-9, 2023 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Whilst the two Academy teams participated in the Generation adidas Cup, the remaining Academy groups competed in MLS NEXT play recording a win and a draw.
The youngest Academy group hit the road as they took on Bavarian United SC at the Ramon Bavarian United Soccer Club in Glendale, Wisconsin. The match resulted in a thrilling 3-0 win for the Fire. The first goal came from Nico Lopez followed by an own goal by Bavarian United. The final goal was scored by Noah George as teammate Kash Held recorded an assist.
With the result, the U-13's sit in fourth place in the Mid-American Division with a record of 9-5-7, 34 points.
The U-13's will return to action in MLS NEXT play as they take a road trip to play against Javanon FC on Saturday, April 29 at 3 p.m. CT at Elizabethtown High School Stadium Field in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
The U-14 Academy also hit the road to face Bavarian United SC at the Ramon Bavarian Unites Soccer Club in Glendale, Wisconsin. The match resulted in a 0-0 draw. With the result, the U-14's sit first place in the Mid-American Division with a record of 18-0-2, 56 points.
The U-14's will return to MLS NEXT action in a road trip to play against Javanon FC on Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m. CT at Elizabethtown High School Stadium Field in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
The U-15 Academy was placed in Group Seven of the prestigious GA Cup, where they were matched up against Vancouver Whitecaps, KRC Genk and LA Galaxy. The U-15's would prevail in their first match of the tournament against Vancouver Whitecaps on April 1, sealing a 2-1 victory in Florida. An own goal from Vancouver followed by a goal from Parker Amoo-Mensah would lift the Fire to the victory.
The Fire would draw their following match against KRC Genk the following afternoon, but lose in penalties 7-6. The lone goal in the matchup came from Aiden Goldberg withParker Amoo-Mensah recording the assist. The Fire would end their last group stage matchup with a 2-1 win against LA Galaxy on April 3. The first goal came from Aaron Ineh found by teammate Vitaliy Hlyut and Emir Herrera finding the back of the net from the penalty spot to seal the victory. Their results over their three group stage opponents were enough to catapult them into the knockout round. In the Round of 16, the team fell 1-0 to Mexican club CF Monterrey. With the result, the U-15 Academy was eliminated from the tournament but would go on to play in the showcase section of the competition.
In the showcase, the U-15 Academy played an additional three matches. The matches were single matches against San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Toulouse. The Fire would draw 1-1 against San Jose Earthquakes in regulation time with a goal from Michael Sarna, assisted by Matthew Maciulis, on April 6. The draw led to a 6-5 defeat on penalties. Against Seattle Sounders FC on April 8, the U-15 Fire Academy would hold a 0-0 draw but prevailed on penalties winning 3-1. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Pj Field made three saves in the shootout. Their final showcase matchup against Toulouse resulted in a 3-2 loss for the Chicago Fire Academy.Overall, the U-15 Academy finished their appearance in the 2023 Generation adidas Cup with a record of 2-2-3 (1.57 ppg/2.5 ppg vs MLS clubs).
The U-17 Academy was placed in Group One of the Generation adidas Cup alongside Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas and Miami Rush Kendall SC. The U-17's suffered defeat in their opening game, losing 4-0 to Seattle Sounders on April 1. The following afternoon, the U-17's dropped their second game of the tournament in a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas. In their final matchup in group stage play, the Fire would prevail 1-0 over Miami Rush Kendall SC with the lone goal coming from Easton Bogard, with Aaron Deppe picking up the assist.
The U-17 Academy played an additional three showcase matches while in Florida against Club América, D.C. United and Atlas FC. In their first match against Club América on April 5, the Fire would win 3-2. Dylan Borso and Daven Arias found themselves on the score sheet. Daniel Zepeda recorded two assists whilst teammate Daven Arias recorded a single assist against Club América. Their next match against D.C. United on April 6, resulted in a 2-1 victory. Dylan Borso registered another goal with an assist from Easton Bogard. The second goal came from Nick Mitrega who was assisted by Gio Granda. In their final GA Cup showcase match, the Academy faced Atlas FC. The match resulted in a 0-0 draw,with the Fire prevailing in penalties, 6-5. Overall, the U-17 Academy finished their appearance in the 2023 Generation adidas Cup with a record of 3-2-1 (1.83 ppg/1.0 ppg vs MLS clubs).
Together, the two Academy squads finished with a record of 5-4-4 in Generation adidas play. The two academies combined with an impressive points-per-game average of 1.69 and 1.85 against MLS clubs.
The Fire Academy U-15's and U-17's return to MLS NEXT action on the road to take on Houston Dynamo. U-15 kickoff is slated for 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, April 22. U-17 kickoff is slated for 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, April 22. Both matches will take place at Field 4 at the Houston Sports Park in Houston, Texas.