The New England Revolution Academy had an action-packed outing in Texas as the U-15, U-17, and U-19 youth teams traveled to the lone star state to partake in the 2021 MLS NEXT Cup.
The U-15’s, coached by Revolution legend Shalrie Joseph, opened up the tournament on June 26th as they took on California-side De Anza Force. Enriquez Diaz (2006 – North Andover, Mass.) was the first to put a point on the board for the U-15’s. Angel Ortez (2006 – Revere, Mass.) would add another goal in the first half of the match. Olger Escobar (2006 – Lynn, Mass.) and Alejandro Palacio (2006 – Lexington, MA) would go on to add a third and fourth goal in the second half. De Anza would not go down quietly as they were able to score a goal, but it wouldn’t be enough as the U-15’s secured a 4-1 victory in their tournament opener.
Shalrie Joseph and the U-15’s would then advance to the next round, where they took on Real Colorado. Regular time would not be enough to settle the score between both sides as the game would go to penalties. The U-15’s were able to keep their composure as they picked up the win in penalties.
The red-hot U-15’s would advance to the U-15 Quarterfinals, where they faced off against D.C. United. Ortez wasted no time putting the Revs on the board as he would net the first goal in the 8th minute. D.C. United would level it in the 11th minute after converting on a penalty kick.
The U-15’s faced some additional adversity in the second half as they were down to 10 men after receiving a red card.
That would not deter the U-15’s as Enzo Goncalves (2006 – Hyannis, Mass.) would regain the lead for the Revs after scoring in the 52nd minute of the match. Escobar would go on to score the eventual game-winner in the 59th minute of the match. D.C. would add a second goal in second-half stoppage time, but it would not be enough as the Revs U-15 squad advanced after a 3-2 win.
Unfortunately, the U-15’s run would come to an end after sustaining a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in the Semifinals. Although the U-15’s were unable to win, these U-15 players were able to show true grit and determination as they were able to make a deep run in the tournament and never backed down regardless of what adversity they were facing.
Additionally, it has been great to see Revolution-legend and U-15 coach Shalrie Joseph become a positive and reinforcing presence within the organization. After advancing to the semifinals, Joseph would praise his U-15 players for the character they demonstrated during the quarterfinal match. He would also describe how grateful he is to be a part of the Revs academy and be a part Revs organization.
The U-17’s opened their tournament as they took on Orlando City SC. Unfortunately, the Revs could not overcome Orlando as they suffered a 3-1 loss in their opening match.
It wasn’t all bad for the U-17’s as they had the chance to attend the Revs away match at Toyota Stadium against FC Dallas. Although the first team was unable to pick up a win, it had to have been an important night for the U-17’s, who will look to join the ranks of the first team one day.
After being eliminated from the U-17 tournament, they were able to play some friendlies against other clubs as they looked to continue development on the pitch.
The U-19’s opened their tournament as they faced off against Atlanta United on June 26th.
Similar to the U-15’s, regular time would not be enough to settle the score as the game would enter penalties, and like the U-15’s, the U-19’s were also able to pick up the win in penalties and advanced to the next round.
The U-19’s would return to action the next day as they took on Cedar Stars Academy-Bergen. Unfortunately, the U-19’s would be shut out in a 2-0 loss to the Cedar Stars.
Although they were unable to walk away with hardware, the important thing is all the experiences the youth teams have had throughout the tournament. Whether it be keeping your cool during penalties or fighting back when you’re down, these youth players were able to gain many new experiences that will help them grow and develop as players.
As the academies run in the MLS NEXT Cup playoffs have come to an end, it has been clear to see how bright the future of the Revolution is.