The Philadelphia Union U-16 academy team begins its participation in the 2015-16 Generation Adidas Cup this weekend. You can see the results of the fall qualifying tournament here.
What’s at stake?
The Union will play three qualifying games this weekend, the first of two sets in the East Region, with latter coming in February 2016. The results of these two rounds will determine the bracket the Union will be in for the final part of the tournament.
The top two teams in each of the three regions (East, Central and West) will move on to the Champions Division for the final group stage. The team that wins this division will be the tournament’s overall winner.
The remaining teams that do not qualify for the Champions Division will compete in the Premier Division.
“This tournament is the most important event for our players’ development,” said Jeff Cook, U-16 academy coach, “They’re learning how to be successful in a competitive environment.”
The East Region
The Union’s schedule is as follows:
Friday, Oct. 9, 12:30 p.m. vs. Orlando City SC (0-0, Union won 4-3 on PKs)
Saturday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m. vs. Toronto FC (Toronto FC won 2-1)
Monday, Oct. 12, 12:30 p.m. vs. New York Red Bulls (New York Red Bulls won 4-0)
All three games will take place at the Kia Training Ground in Toronto.
“All of us here in Toronto are really proud to represent the Union,” said Cook, “And we take that responsibility seriously.”
Last year, the Union beat New York Red Bulls with a thrilling last-minute goal, earning them second place in the region. The win secured their spot in the Champions Division, where they finished 11th.
Toronto took 5th place overall in the Champions Division in the 2014-15 tournament. The Red Bulls finished in first place in the Premier Division, the lower division of the tournament.
The Union will play New England Revolution and D.C. United in the next set of qualifying games in the spring, which will be held in Sanford, Florida.
The final national event will be held in Dallas.
The Union have several players who have previously participated in the tournament. The team will look to these experienced players for leadership on the field this weekend, Cook said.
“We’re going to look to some of the older players and their experience to help the team progress to the elite stages of the competition,” Cook said.