Generation Adidas Cup is Major League Soccer’s annual elite youth tournament for academy teams. The tournament focuses on player development and showcases the best teams in the country and the future stars of the MLS. The year’s U12 competition took place on Thanksgiving weekend in Atlanta, GA.
After Sporting Kansas City U12’s won last year’s GA Cup title, the SKC Academy decided to bring two U12 teams to the GA Cup this year; Sporting Kansas City U12 & Sporting KC Affiliate U12. The Sporting Kansas City U12 team consisted of the full-time U12 Academy players and the Sporting KC Affiliate U12 team consisted of a mix of full-time Academy players and 5 Academy Affiliate players.
The 5 boys selected to compete with the Sporting KC Affiliate U12 team came from a program run by SKC Youth Soccer & the SKC Academy: SKC Academy Regional Player Pool. The Regional Player Pool is a new player development and identification resource further linking the Academy Affiliate program with the SKC Academy. Each Academy Affiliate club has the opportunity to recommend their top U12 boys to be considered for this pool. This fall, a total of 25 boys participated in the Regional Player Pool from 10 different Academy Affiliate clubs. Of those 25 players, the 5 boys who were hand-selected by SKC Academy coaches were Trace Rodd (Sporting Blue Valley), Jon Ward (Sporting Omaha FC), Jordan Igwenma (Sporting Omaha FC), Tyler Fischer (Sporting Springfield) and Angel Franco (Sporting Wichita).
We talked to some of the boys’ parents about their sons’ experiences, what it meant for their son to be chosen to participate in the GA Cup, what their son took away from the experience and their son’s reaction to playing with the Sporting KC Affiliate team.
Laura Franco, Angel’s parent:
“I was really excited when the SKC Academy invited my son to go to the GA Cup. As a parent, I think it was a great experience for him as a player. It was an honor for him to represent his team, Sporting Wichita. Angel said that having speed, quick touches, and good communication with his teammates could help his team at practice. Angel’s reaction over the weekend was nervous and excited at the same time. The GA Cup is a great experience for elite players to gain knowledge of playing at the next level.”
Terri Igwenma, Jordan’s parent:
“The overall experience at the GA Cup was wonderful! We as a family got to witness some amazing talent from all over and experience SKC Academy’s routines & expectations. I feel like Jordan’s initial reaction was a bit in shock of all the great talent he was playing against, then he seemed confident & capable as the weekend went on.
What Jordan took away from the GA Cup was to be prepared with all necessary items for the game, stretching is important, eat healthy, stay in your position & be loud/talk.”
Paul Rudd, Trace’s parent:
“The GA Cup was a great learning experience for my son as well as myself as a parent to see what the Academy was all about. Took the opportunity to see what we might do in the future. We enjoyed watching all the Affiliates compete but Trace really enjoyed playing against some real high caliber soccer players. He loved that everyone played so fast and passed the ball all around the field. He made some new buddies over the weekend and they stay in touch over the common love for soccer and Fortnite. Trace says he wants to keep working hard to become a pro player. “I know I can play with those players I just need to keep working and show everyone,” said Trace.”
Matt Lyon, Tyler’s parent:
“It is exciting to see the all of the tournament players relentless dedication to honing their craft pay dividends as they reach new milestones. Each of these points provide important lessons in not only sports but life in general. Attending the GA Cup was another step in Tyler’s journey to reach his goal of regularly competing against the top players around the country and beyond while reinforcing the notion that you must work hard to get what you want in life. Along with the countless teammates, coaches, family and friends involved over the years, we could not be more proud. Tyler was ecstatic and thankful to receive notification that he was invited to play with the U12 SKC Academy following his inclusion in the Regional Player Pool. He has been aware of the Academy Program for quite some time and this provided a chance for him to finally play alongside a team stacked with high quality previous opponents and social media friends. To wear an official SKC jersey as a player has been a dream for years at this point and he knows that continued development through solid work ethic and dedication is the only way to possibly wear it again.Tyler’s biggest take away was that the competition played at the next level; the power, speed, precision and purpose are facets few Midwest clubs can match and he had only seen on a handful of occasions. This was an exceptionally positive yet humbling experience. Following the tournament, he immediately shared that he is more motivated than ever and committed to reaching his goal, stating “this is where I want to play.” Tyler is excited to take a new sense of leadership back to Sporting Springfield through the lessons learned during this experience and to continue to set an example that good things might happen when one has the desire to stay focused and outwork the competition.”
As an organization, our goal is to try to give players opportunities that they wouldn’t receive from other clubs. We are proud that we have such a large group of talented players that can compete together while simultaneously developing players around them to the best of their ability. Congrats again to Trace, Jon, Jordan, Tyler and Angel for competing with the U12 SKC Academy in the GA Cup this past month. We wish you and your Academy Affiliate teams the best of luck moving forward!
Sporting KC Affiliate U12 Team Roster:
|Liam Dean||Sporting KC Academy|
|Cristiano Delgado||Sporting KC Academy|
|Tyler Fischer||Sporting Springfield|
|Angel Franco||Sporting Wichita|
|Jordan Huff||Sporting KC Academy|
|Jordan Igwenma||Sporting Omaha FC|
|Eddie Kilongson||Sporting KC Academy|
|Johann Ortiz||Sporting KC Academy|
|Trace Rudd||Sporting Blue Valley|
|Kaden Slaven||Sporting KC Academy|
|Jon Ward||Sporting Omaha FC|
For more information on the SKC Academy, please visit https://www.sportingkcacademy.com. For more information on Academy Affiliates and Sporting KC Youth Soccer, please visit http://sportingkcyouth.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.