Nashville SC’s senior team trains on the academy competition pitch. From file – Tim Sullivan/Club and Country
One of the top academy competitions in the Western Hemisphere is almost upon us. in just over a week, Nashville SC’s U-15 and U-17 groups will travel to Dallas to participate in the Generation Adidas Cup.
From League release:
NEW YORK (Monday, March 28, 2022) – Major League Soccer today announced the details for the 2022 Generation adidas Cup, an elite youth tournament featuring MLS and professional club academies from around the globe. A total of 80 professional academies from 10 countries across four continents will compete in U-17 and U-15 tournament play at the Toyota Soccer Center at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas from April 9-17.
Adding to the largest field in the 13-year history of the Generation adidas Cup are 23 international teams from several of the premier clubs in the global game. Represented in both the U-17 and U-15 divisions are Manchester United of the Premier League, River Plate of the Argentine Primera División, Celtic of the Scottish Premiership and Flamengo of Serie A.
Continuing the rivalry between the two top leagues in North America, MLS and Liga MX will face off in both age divisions. Ten teams from seven different Liga MX clubs will compete against their MLS counterparts, including Club Tijuana (U-15, U-17), Cruz Azul (U-15, U-17), Tigres UANL (U-15, U-17), Club America (U-17), Club León (U-17), Monterrey (U-17) and Santos Laguna (U-17) . Generation adidas Cup further strengthens the competitive collaboration between the two leagues, building on the successes of Campeones Cup, Leagues Cup and the 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by presented by Target.
“In the form of a world-class competition, Generation adidas Cup provides the stage to introduce and showcase the next generation of stars from MLS academies and top clubs around the globe,” said MLS Vice President of Player Youth and Development Fred Lipka. “The expansion of the field to 80 teams will only heighten the level of competition, and we are excited to see our MLS academies competing head-to-head with many of the top international programs.”
“We are excited to welcome back the Generation adidas Cup, the premier boys youth soccer event in North America, after a two year hiatus,” said Jason Davis, adidas Sports Marketing – Senior Manager. “The tournament highlights the industry leading partnership between adidas and MLS, providing a critical opportunity for MLS academy players to measure themselves against top international opponents”
Forty teams, divided into 10 groups of four, will compete in each of the two age divisions. MLS club seeding was determined by Generation adidas Cup Qualifiers at the inaugural MLS NEXT Fest in December 2021. Each team will play three group matches to determine qualification for the knockout round. Sixteen teams will qualify for the winner’s side of the draw with winning teams advancing to play in a bracket-style elimination format. All teams competing in GA Cup are guaranteed to compete in seven matches and matches will be 60 minutes in length, comprised of two 30-minute halves. Select matches played inside Toyota Stadium, the home of FC Dallas, will feature 35-minute halves.
More than 30 games throughout Generational adidas Cup will be streamed live on Twitch and YouTube. Additional GA Cup broadcast details, including the schedule of games featured, will be announced in advance of the tournament.
Following tournament play, awards will be presented in both age groups to the Generation adidas Cup Most Valuable Player and Top Scorer, as well as the Generation adidas Cup Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate. The Generation adidas Cup XI presented by BODYARMOR will highlight the top performing MLS academy players from each position at GA Cup.MLS Release
Nashville went 0-3 at both age groups during the MLS Next Fest, though it’s unclear from the outcome what that meant for seeding. Here are the games on the schedule:
|Apr. 09||17:00 CT||U15||Field 6||Inter Miami CF||Nashville SC U15|
|Apr. 10||13:00 CT||U17||Field 7||San Jose Earthquakes U17B||Nashville SC U17|
|Apr. 10||21:00 CT||U15||Field 7||Nashville SC U15||Flamengo|
|Apr. 11||13:00 CT||U17||Field 6||Nashville SC U17||D.C. United Academy U17|
|Apr. 11||19:00 CT||U15||Field 8||Tigres||Nashville SC U15|
|Apr. 12||13:00 CT||U17||Field 8||River Plate U17||Nashville SC U17|
Given the aforementioned qualifying results (0-3-0 at both age groups, two scored and 10 conceded at U-15, one scored and nine conceded at U-17) and relative youth of the program, it would be unwise to expect too much from the club in terms of results. IMCF and San Jose have two of the more-talented academies in the league – even if it hasn’t consistently translated to results with the senior team – and names like “Flamengo,” “Tigres,” and “River [by-god] Plate” are not often uttered in the same breath as Nashville SC.
A big hope here is that the games will be among those that are streamed, since there have been vanishingly few opportunities to actually see Nashville’s academy side perform.