Qualifying for the 2020 edition of the Generation Adidas Cup, one of the top youth competitions in the country, ended on Monday, February 17, and the Seattle Sounders Academy U-15s and U-17s will both likely come away feeling disappointed with their results. The U-17s finished fourth in their group, qualifying them for Division 2 where they’ll be pitted against fellow MLS academies and four Liga MX academies, while the U-15s missed out on qualifying for the GA Cup by finishing 3rd in their group.
2020 is only the second time that U-15 teams are involved in the tournament, and the format for the age group is pretty limited with only four MLS teams advancing from qualifying to compete against four Liga MX academy teams in what is being called the U-15 International Challenge. 24 U-15 academy teams from MLS are split into four groups with six teams each for qualifying, and only the top team advances to the tournament. The Sounders U-15s played well, going 3-1-2 and tying for the best goal difference in qualifying with a +15 - although that number is bloated as a result of a 11-0 win over Minnesota United - but still found themselves 4 points behind Chicago Fire. While they’ll be disappointed to miss out, they can at least take some solace in that they beat Chicago 2-0 in their lone meeting during qualifying back in October.
The U-17s will miss out on their chance to defend their title as champions of Division 1, formerly the Champions Division, but they’ll still be tested against quality opponents in Division 2. The tournament previously consisted of the Champions and Premier divisions, but this year has expanded and been renamed as Divisions 1, 2, and 3. Division 1 includes top academies from around the world - in 2019 the Sounders won the top division by defeating Valencia C.F. of Spain - including teams from Argentina, Brazil, and Spain, among others, while Division 2 teams will get the chance to compete against Liga MX sides, and Division 3 will be comprised of MLS teams and Club Sporting Cristal of Peru and Ashanti Gold SC from Ghana. Qualifying for the Sounders U-17s was tough, as they went 1-3-2 with two wins on penalty kicks - games that end in a draw go to penalty kicks, with the winning side earning two points and the losing side receiving the usual 1 point for a draw. While the record looks bad, it’s worth noting that they only lost by more than 1 goal against Chicago, who won all 6 of their games with a +6 GD.
The GA Cup proper kicks off on April 4 in Frisco, Texas. Before then, the Sounders U-15s and U-17s will return to Development Academy action on Saturday against Breakers FC, and some of the top players from these teams may even see time with Tacoma Defiance throughout the USL Championship season.