MLS academy teams will be greeting some of the best from around the world in a few weeks as Real Madrid, River Plate and Chivas Guadalajara travel to Texas to play in the 10th edition of the Generation adidas Cup.
The tournament, hosted by FC Dallas at the Toyota Soccer Center at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, beginning April 7, will feature 13 elite international clubs and 19 MLS academy teams and will for the first time, incorporate video assistance for referees for the semifinals, finals and select group stage matches, Major League Soccer announced on Friday.
The nine-day, elite youth competition will feature 34 total U-17 games streaming live on MLSsoccer.com, and will feature youth teams from such prestigious clubs as Real Madrid, River Plate, Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt, and Mexican sides Tigres UANL, Pumas UNAM, Chivas, Monterrey, and Club Tijuana, along with Brazilian side Flamengo, Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle, and Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa.
“The growth and success of the Generation adidas Cup continues in 2017 with what will surely be the most competitive edition,’’ Jason Davis, adidas America’s senior manager grassroots and players, said. “With renowned international clubs such as Real Madrid, River Plate, and Flamengo, along with all MLS Academy teams, the Generation adidas Cup provides a world class platform for our Homegrown players to test and prove themselves.’’
Since the event’s inception in 2007, D.C. United has won the most titles, winning in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Real Salt Lake (2008) LA Galaxy (2011) and Philadelphia Union (2012) are the other MLS clubs to win. International clubs have won the last three tournaments, with England’s Stoke City winning in 2014 and River Plate winning in 2015 and 2016.
“The Generation adidas Cup is a world-class competition that offers MLS Academy teams the opportunity to compete against some of the most talented youth players and gain valuable insight into current coaching trends from these talented international clubs,’’ MLS technical director of competition Alfonso Mondelo said. “The level and quality of the competition continues to rise year after year and provides a platform in which to display and evaluate the growth of MLS’ youth development system across North America.”
Tournament play began with three regional tournaments (East, Central and West) featuring academy teams from 19 MLS clubs. Each team competed in two regional qualifying events from October 2016 to February 2017, with the top two finishers in each region and the two highest third-place teams advancing to the Champions Division of the GA Cup finals, while the other MLS clubs will play in the Premier Division.
The 2016-2017 Generation adidas Cup will also feature the third annual U-12 tournament, featuring current MLS Academies in addition to future expansion club Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). The small-sided 7-v-7 competition will be held at the Toyota Soccer Center from April 13-15 and will feature 18 MLS Academy teams. Spanish clubs Villarreal C.F. and Malaga C.F. round out the U-12 group.