Chicago Fire U-17 Academy Forward Michael Nesci Selected to MLS NEXT All-Star Game 

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CHICAGO (June 29, 2023) - Chicago Fire FC and MLS NEXT today announced that Chicago Fire U-17 Academy forward Michael Nesci has been selected to the second annual MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate.

The game will provide a world-class experience for North America’s rising stars to showcase their talents in an East vs. West format at the Naval Academy’s Glenn Warner Soccer Facility in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday, July 19 at 9:30 a.m. CT.

Nesci, a member of the U-17 Chicago Fire Academy roster, has recently been called up to Chicago Fire FC II, the MLS NEXT Pro side of the Club. Nesci made his professional debut on August 6, 2022, coming in as a substitute in the 2-1 loss against St. Louis CITY SC 2. So far this season, Nesci has made nine appearances (two starts), and recorded his first pro goal on May 21, 2023, against Toronto FC II.  

MLS NEXT and Allstate will provide the selected players with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during MLS All-Star Week, which will include a full slate of evening programming events and activities in advance of the match. The players will be fully integrated into MLS All-Star Week festivities, which include team training, the All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G on July 18 and the MLS All-Star Game on July 19. Each MLS NEXT All-Star team will also conduct their own training sessions leading up to their match on Wednesday morning.

The 44 players were selected by MLS NEXT personnel following the conclusion of the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase. To be eligible for selection, players must have been born between 2005-2007, have competed in the MLS NEXT regular season, and played in at least one of the MLS NEXT premier events this season – MLS NEXT Fest, MLS NEXT Flex, Generation adidas Cup, or the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs and Showcase.

The two teams will compete in an East vs. West format at the Naval Academy’s Glenn Warner Soccer Facility in Annapolis, Md. on the day of the MLS All-Star Game, Wednesday, July 19. All 29 MLS academies had at least one player selected to the roster, and nine clubs had multiple selections. Five non-MLS academies will also be represented in Annapolis: BW Gottschee, FC DELCO, Real Colorado, Strikers FC, Total Futbol Academy.

MLS NEXT personnel also advised on the selection of the coaching staff for both East and West teams. The head coach of the East team will be D.C. United academy director Patrick Ouckama. Ouckama has been with D.C.’s academy since 2021 and has over a decade of coaching experience in MLS, college, and at the youth club level. Under Ouckama’s stewardship, D.C. United won the U-16 MLS NEXT Cup title in 2022. The assistant coach will be MLS Great and Atlanta United U-16 head coach Kevin Kratz, who led the Five Stripes to this season’s U-16 MLS NEXT Cup championship.

The West squad head coach will be former U.S. Men’s National Team defender and current St. Louis CITY SC U-15 head coach Anthony Wallace. As a coach, Wallace previously spent time with various teams in Washington including Hawks SC, Eastern Washington Surf SC, and Washington State University Women’s Soccer. Wallace had an 11-year professional career and saw MLS action for FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids, and the New York Red Bulls. Strikers FC head coach Willie Diaz will serve as assistant coach for the West squad, after leading the U-16 side to the final of MLS NEXT Cup in each of the last two seasons. Diaz has over a decade of collegiate and youth club coaching experience in his career.

The match will be streamed live from MLS NEXT’s (@mlsnext) TikTok account with multiple access points in the app. Admission to the MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility is free of cost. Fans are highly encouraged to park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and ride the free shuttle bus to and from the game due to security restrictions. Pedestrians can enter through the Naval Academy Visitors Center where they must go through security and present a valid U.S. ID.