The future stars of the Philadelphia Union have arrived in Seattle as the club’s U-15 and U-17 teams take part in the tournament which helped launch the careers of Zach Pfeffer and Jimmy McLaughlin.
The Generation adidas (GA) Cup is a youth soccer competition organized by Major League Soccer for all MLS academy teams, enabling each academy to compete against the best players in the country.
This year’s tournament is taking place at the Seattle Sounders’ training facilities in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and it will be the third time that the Philadelphia Union have participated following the 2010 tournament in Houston and last year’s GA Cup in neighboring Dallas.
The tournament has been a large part of the Union’s initiative to create a ‘Path to PPL Park’ for the youth players of the wider Philadelphia region. The club has made it one of their key goals to develop youth in the ‘Union Way’, helping to nurture young talent to be professional on and off the field as well as playing a style of soccer that matches that of the professionals on the first team.
The Union’s U-15 side will be the first of the club’s two sides in action when they take on LA Galaxy at 9 a.m. (all times PDT) today.
Assigned to U-15 Group B, they will also face Chicago Fire at 12 p.m. tomorrow and Colorado Rapids at 11 a.m. on Monday before qualifying teams face-off in the knockout stages from Tuesday. The U-15 final is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday August 9th.
The U-15 team is being headed up by Penn State stand-out and MLS player Phil Karn. “This group of 97-98's has shown a lot potential with several players being called into Youth US national camps.” Karn said. “This is a great opportunity for a group of this caliber to get to train together and to play as one team in the Union kit.”
This year’s U-17 team is being coached by former MLS All-Star Jim Curtin, who commented. "Generation Adidas Cup has served as a great stepping stone in the development of the Philadelphia Union’s young players."
Curtin’s squad are alongside hosts Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake in U-17 Group C but are subject to a slightly different format, with the three teams in Group C playing each of the three members of U-17 Group D as they aim to progress to the knockout stages.
The U-17 squad will kick their GA Cup campaign off against Group D’s Colorado Rapids at 1pm today before entertaining Chivas USA at 8pm tomorrow. They then face Columbus Crew at 4pm on Monday before the straight knock-out phase begins for qualifying teams on Tuesday.
The U-17 final is scheduled for 12pm on Thursday August 9th.