Some of the best and brightest players in both MLS academies and around the world competed at the 2023 Generation adidas Cup in Florida.
MLSsoccer.com has named a Best XI of players from MLS and abroad that impressed scouts and observers at the annual tournament.
Lucca Kiaba Mounganga, Genk U-15
The U-15 Generation adidas Cup Best Goalkeeper presented by Allstate stood out in Florida without even touching a ball, as he already carries the frame of a professional goalkeeper despite being just 15 years old. A Belgian youth national team player, he back-stopped a talented Genk squad that advanced to the semifinals before suffering a shootout loss to Austin. Mounganga started five of Genk’s six competitive matches, and subbed into the one game he did not start. His performance against Austin in the semifinals kept the game deadlocked at 0-0, even if his side came up short on spot kicks.
Gavin Wolff, Austin FC U-15
The US youth international’s play in central defense was instrumental during his team’s victorious run to the final. Wolff brought poise and calmness to Austin’s possession play, and dug in and made plays defensively to snuff out opposing attacks. ATX’s spine was a massive part of their triumph, with Wolff playing a huge role in locking things up centrally.
Daniel Krueger, Philadelphia Union U-17
Philadelphia’s defensive nous powered them to a championship, as they were a difficult side to break down. Conceding just two goals in seven games, Krueger played in several different spots: popping up at defensive midfield, right back and in central defense. Versatility at youth tournaments is a huge asset, and his presence strengthened Philly’s defense no matter where he was on the field. That was key for a team that conceded just once in four knockout games (an unfortunate own goal that Krueger scored).
Shakir Nixon, LAFC U-17
Another versatile player along the backline, Nixon started every game for LAFC at either right back or centrally (though most games at the latter). LAFC dominated the group stage, scoring 10 goals without conceding once. Nixon’s play at the back helped his squad reach the semifinals, where the talented outfit fell by a 2-1 score to the eventual champions.
Taha Habroune, Columbus Crew U-17
Coming off a solid performance with the US U-17 men’s national team at the Concacaf Championship, Habroune translated that into a strong Generation adidas Cup. Named the U-17 MVP, Habroune helped keep the Crew midfield ticking over, as Columbus emerged as one of the top MLS sides at the event. He scored big goals as well, bagging the game-winner in the quarterfinals against New York City FC.
Viggo Ortiz, Austin FC U-15
Few teams stole the show at the 2023 Generation adidas Cup quite like Austin FC, and Ortiz was responsible for several magical moments. He won a penalty against New York Red Bulls that put his side on the way to a win, and his passing and dribbling ability earned him the MVP award for the U-15 age group.
Jared Salazar, FC Dallas U-17
Salazar’s timely goal scoring was a big part of his team’s run to the final. He scored the winning goal against Strikers FC in the Round of 16, plus got the first tally in a 2-0 quarterfinal against Liga MX’s Atlas FC. Salazar was one of six players to tie for the Golden Boot in the U-17 age group, and was particularly dangerous whenever the ball was at his feet.
Cavan Sullivan, Philadelphia Union U-15
A standout performance in the Round of 16 against Arsenal was part of a lengthy list of impressive shifts the 13-year-old midfielder logged down in Florida. Sullivan’s soccer IQ is at an impressive level for a player of his age, as he reads the game extremely well. He knows where to be as part of the Union’s style of play, looking for pockets of space and moving on and off the ball in lethal fashion. The Union’s U-15 side was one of the best in the age group despite coming up short in a final shootout against Austin FC. The bright-eyed prospect even drew a shoutout from Union first-team head coach Jim Curtin.
Adrian Perez Muñoz, Real Madrid U-15
The left winger dazzled for the Spanish giants, as he bagged a highlight-reel goal in a group-stage win against LAFC. Match evaluators cited Muñoz as one of the top prospects at the event, both in current performance and future potential. A youth international for Spain, he helped Real Madrid to a quarterfinal finish.
Gustavo Caraballo, Orlando City SC U-15
Another talented attacking player from an MLS academy, Caraballo showed a knack for taking players on off the dribble and finding the back of the net. He finished the competition tied for the U-15 Golden Boot with four, while he also contributed to his team’s first goal against the Columbus Crew in the quarterfinal (his shot from distance hit the post, the goalkeeper and then went into the back of the net). Few defenders were able to corral him when he had the ball, offering an important attacking element to a side that reached the semifinals.
Felipe Teresa, Flamengo U-17
Already on the rise at a Brazilian powerhouse, Teresa impressed with his striking and finishing ability in particular. Deployed on the right wing, he was lethal cutting back onto his left foot, scoring two of his three goals in that fashion. He helped Flamengo reach the quarterfinals, coming up short on penalty kicks against LAFC.
- Alfonso Arguelles Treviño (Monterrey U-15)
- Ilyas Azizi (Toulouse FC U-15)
- Erick Bele (Palmeiras U-17)
- Gil de Souza (New York Red Bulls U-15)
- Julian Eyestone (FC Dallas U-17)
- Malachi Molina (FC Dallas U-17)
- Muyideen Olude (Remo Stars U-17)
- Owen Presthus (Columbus Crew U-17)
- Tanner Rosborough (New York Red Bulls U-15)
- Anisse Saidi (Philadelphia Union U-15)
- David Salukombo (Columbus Crew U-15)
- Jonathan Shore (New York City FC U-17)
- Abner Zuniga (Austin FC U-15)
- David Viana (Flamengo U-17)
- Devin Zachry (Strikers FC U-17)
- Macaulay Zepa (Arsenal U-15)