CHICAGO (July 3, 2021) – The Chicago Fire FC U-19 Academy won the inaugural MLS Next Championship with a 1-0 victory against Solar SC at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Fire also took home the Golden Boot and Golden Ball for the tournament.
Missael Rodríguez scored the lone goal for the Fire in the 80th minute when Max Viera sent a ball high ball to the top of the six-yard box. Rodríguez had his back to the goal and flicked Viera’s pass behind him with his head. The Solar SC goalkeeper was caught off his line and Rodríguez’s header went over him and into the open net.
Rodríguez scored a tournament-high eight goals, earning Golden Boot honors. Midfielder Sergio Oregel Jr. earned the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player.
Led by head coach Ludovic Taillandier and assistant coach Patrick Nyarko, the Fire U-19 squad finished the tournament with a 5-0-0 record. The Fire scored 17 goals, conceding only four.
The Chicago Fire Academy last claimed a national title in 2015, when the U-17/18 team won the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship with a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake-Arizona. The U-15/16 team previously captured the 2010 championship, the first in program history.