Generation adidas Cup

2024 Generation adidas Cup: Teams, players & games to watch

GA Cup - ball

The 2024 Generation adidas Cup kicks off on March 30 and runs through April 7, bringing 80 teams from around the world to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida

All 29 MLS academy clubs will compete, contributing to 49 clubs from a record 15 countries – all vying for Under-15 and Under-17 championships at the prestigious youth tournament.

It’s a big opportunity for MLS youth sides to test themselves against top talent globally. MLS teams have won the competition in each age group over the past two years, something that is sure to be on the minds of coaching staffs around the league.

Let’s get to know some of the key sides involved, as well as Group Stage games we’re watching for.

U15: MLS NEXT Academies to watch

One of the top MLS sides at this age group, the Fire backed up that claim with a 3W-0L-0D record in December at MLS NEXT Fest. The team has lost just twice, including a 1-0 defeat against FC Dallas on March 16. Several players from this group have participated in US youth national team camps, including Roko Pehar, Tomas Cortes and Robert Turdean (a 2010-born player who generally plays up with this team).

The Dynamo have fashioned a record of 15W-2L-4D in MLS NEXT play; the team put together an unbeaten record with two wins and a draw at MLS NEXT Fest in December. One challenge this tournament: A pair of talented youngsters, Myles Gardner and Mattheo Dimareli, are playing with Houston's U17s. Absent them, how does the group respond?

It’s been a strong campaign for the ever-improving Charlotte FC academy setup at this age group. Strong defenders such as Tyler Beveridge and Wyatt Holt lay the foundation for a team that has a 16W-6L-0D record in MLS NEXT play. Keegan Kerr provides danger in front of goal and will look to leave his mark on the tournament.

From a results perspective, Orlando have achieved an impressive run dating back to the fall. Caleb Trombino anchors the back, providing real steel and quality through a spine that also features Zachary Olah and Matthew Belgodere. Jakob Garcia is one of the key attacking players for the Lions, as he’s a real threat getting in behind or in wide areas.

U17: MLS NEXT Academies to watch

It’s been a good run of late for FC Cincinnati, with just one loss from their last 15 games, dating back to October. While the bulk of that has come against opponents outside the pro academies, it does include a 1-0 win over LA Galaxy in December and a recent 4-3 win against a talented St. Louis CITY SC squad. Stefan Chirila’s goalscoring has provided a big boost during the season. FC Cincinnati face a tough Group A against Atlas F.C. of Mexico, Philadelphia Union and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Facing a tough task in Group I, including games against Charlotte FC and FC Dallas, a big performance from goalkeeper Nathaniel Abraham – a 2023 MLS NEXT All-Star – could be a difference maker in TFC’s quest for success in Florida. Quentin Christey and Joses Chukwu add Canadian youth national team experience. Forward Joshua Nugent is a handful in the final third as well.

The 2007 age group from Inter Miami won MLS NEXT Cup back in 2022. And while results at the youth level are secondary, it suggests the quality and experience of the group. Several of those players remain on the roster and are key players: Victor Fung, Nicholas Almeida and Daniel Pinter all have youth national team experience with either Canada or the United States, while Jack Pymm made his Inter Miami II debut last year. Recent addition Endri Mustali brings in a top attacking option that could make the difference.

There’s little doubt the Earthquakes have made real strides in their youth setup over the past few years. That’s included everything from players developed for the first team to improved results and style of play. This week in Florida will be another measuring stick against AZ Alkmaar, CF Montréal and Chicago Fire FC. Oliver Hernandez’s ability to control the midfield will be important, while forward Tomo Allen is another to watch to provide the finishing touch in the penalty area.

International Arrivals

Since 2014, international teams have made the trip for the Generation adidas Cup – and this year is no different.

Clubs from Asia, Europe, South America and Mexico/Central America will join their MLS counterparts on the Florida Gulf Coast, with each team getting the chance to measure themselves against talented peers from around the world.

Several teams in the Under-15 age group are making the journey once again. That includes English Premier League sides Arsenal FC and Manchester United, Belgian side KRC Genk, and Danish clubs Brøndby IF and FC Nordsjælland. Spain (Valencia CF), France (Toulouse FC), Portugal (Sporting Clube de Portugal) and Mexico (CF Monterrey, Club Necaxa) round out the field at the youngest age group.

New clubs and countries are set to travel in the oldest age group. That includes two teams from the Netherlands in PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are also set to be the first team from South Korea to compete in the tournament. The Under-17 age group will include clubs from previous winners River Plate (Argentina) and Flamengo (Brazil). A trio of Liga MX teams – Atlas FC, CF Monterrey and Club Necaxa – join the field too.

Six group games to watch

With 28 games set to be broadcast on MLS Season Pass – including the final of both age groups on April 7 – check out the top six group matchups to stream from the group games:

Saturday, March 30

U15: Atlanta United vs. Manchester United - 10 am ET

  • The English giants return to the competition once again. A meeting with Atlanta United provides a stern test for both sides.

U17: Philadelphia Union vs. Atlas FC - 4:30 pm ET

  • Philadelphia will look to back up their claim as contenders with a matchup against the side from Liga MX.

Sunday, March 31

U15: Orlando City SC vs. Arsenal FC - 10 am ET

  • For the second time in two days, start your weekend with a Premier League vs. MLS U15 matchup.

U17: LAFC vs. River Plate – 4:30 pm ET

  • Expect plenty to be at stake when the Argentine powerhouse take on LAFC. River Plate youth sides won the competition spanning from 2015-17.

Monday, April 1

U15: KRC Genk vs. FC Dallas – 10 am ET

  • The third and final group game for both sides pits two sides clubs have sent several players to their country’s respective full national teams.

U17: Flamengo vs. St. Louis CITY SC – 2:30 pm ET

  • Brazilian clubs are always formidable, and this Monday meeting could pit two sides that will be looking to win their group.