The Seattle Sounders Academy is on the doorstep of making history, a feat that’s not exactly foreign to the organization. Competing in the inaugural MLS Next Cup — the single-elimination tournament serving as the centerpiece of the league’s new player development league that replaced the Development Academy system — the Sounders U17 side has reached the semifinals and now face New Jersey’s Players Development Academy.
Back in 2019, the Sounders Academy made history when the U17 team, boasting an embarrassment of riches in terms of professional experience with Ray Serrano and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez both already on USL deals at the time, beat Valencia to become the first-ever MLS-affiliated team to win the Champions Division. There are interesting parallels between that U17 team and the one currently pushing to leave their own names in the history books, notably a group of players already signed to professional contracts helping to lead the team. Juan Alvarez and Obed Vargas both have USL contracts, while Cody Baker has made two appearances with Tacoma Defiance and others like Angel Martinez and Takashi Sasaki have spent time in training with Tacoma or the First Team over the last couple years. Two years from now, this team may look similarly stacked when compared to the team that won the GA Cup. Just look at all those pros now.
The Future has taken a tough road to get here, even if they made it look easy at times. Back-to-back 3-0 wins to open the tournament over Pennsylvania’s FC Delco and Chicago Fire Academy were followed by a win in penalties over LAFC in the quarterfinals. PDA, which has a history of developing pros in both their boys and girls programs, including Tobin Heath and Bryan Meredith, beat FC Dallas in the previous round. The winner of this game will face the winner of Sacramento Republic FC vs. Orlando City SC in the final.
How to watch
Time/Date: Thursday, July 1, 7:05 AM PT
Location: Toyota Soccer Center, Frisco, TX
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This is your MLS Next Cup semifinal gamethread. Watch The Future and discuss it with us.