Rapids Development Academy Wins Generation Adidas Cup
Posted by: Jordan Collins | Director of Marketing & Ben Martisius | Communications Manager
Thanksgiving saw more than just football and turkey with the 12U Development Academy competing for the Generation Adidas Cup in Atlanta. This competition was the first iteration of the Under-12 competition and the boys were ready to make the most of the opportunity. Atlanta hosted 14 MLS teams with 12 affiliate teams taking part in a separate competition. Group A included the Colorado Rapids, LAFC, Houston Dynamo, Atlanta United, New York Red Bulls, Minnesota United FC, and the Columbus Crew.
|New York Red Bulls||9||3||3||0||14||13||+1|
|Minnesota United FC||3||1||5||0||6||19||-13|
|Columbus Crew SC||1||0||5||1||7||19||-12|
The boys put together an impressive group stage winning 5 games from 6 and drawing 1 game to top the table. In Group B, FC Dallas proved to be dominant winning 6 from 6 to top their group. With both teams going into the final undefeated it was anyone’s game. The Rapids came ready to play and it showed in the GA Cup Final where the boys defeated FC Dallas 3 to 0. Outside of the tournament, the boys enjoyed a weekend away to build comradery and take part in a Thanksgiving meal as a team.
Coach Antti Ronkanen stopped into The Eddy this week to give his thoughts on the GA Cup and the impact of the result for the club. Ronkanen described the long, on-going process that has been in progress for the group over time and reiterated that this is just a milestone on their squad’s track. Antti believes that this group of players are special in their understanding that the most important thing is the standard of their daily work and the habits that they are forming. Doing their daily work in the same location as the first team and seeing some of the older academy players getting opportunities with the first team has inspired this group. When asked about the team’s philosophy, Ronkanen explained that the boys have truly formed a collective focus on competing, not just at the national level, but at the global level. As the world’s game, the team needs to be on pace with the best young teams in the world and that will manifest in their collective effort to get better. The group has continued to prove how special they truly are by working hard outside of training. Antti also made a point that there were multiple players in the group who didn’t travel with the team, but would have been able to play and contribute at the event.
Coach Antti’s Generation Adidas Takeaways
Thoughts on the tournament?
- It was an excellently organized event. Every game was extremely tough and at this level, the opponents punish mistakes, which at other levels you might be able to get away with. It was a great and extremely valuable experience for our players and staff and we are very happy to come home with the trophy.
What gives this team their edge?
- Standards. If you want to be the best you have to train like the best. The players in this group are very aware that if they think they are big shots now, some other player from our pool will outwork them and take their spot for the next event.
- We trained today here in The Eddy. Have to keep going and putting in the work. Great milestone, but only a milestone. The group that has lots of talent and potential, but the key is that our daily work needs to remain on a trajectory that aligns with the global standard.
Highlights from the tournament?
- Going unbeaten. The consistency of performances. Every player contributing to the success of the team. Players realizing that they can compete against anyone in the nation and seeing their confidence grow through the tournament and to cap it with a dominating display in the final.
Outside of the field, great focus during recovery sessions, team meetings, and great behavior during the free time and team meals. Our Director of performance, Pierre Soubrier ran our recovery sessions and took care of the nutrition and hydration of the players extremely professionally and that gave us an edge over some other teams.
Thanksgiving at GA Cup?
We had a Thanksgiving meal as a team. Cool for the kids, cool for the staff. The team is like a second family for these boys.
CRYSC’s Development Academy Impact
18 of the 24 players currently in Antti’s team were selected from the Rapids Youth Club. Current CRYSC 9U/10U Select Director and former MLS pro, Jeb Brovsky, has been working with Antti on developing the style of play all the way down to the 9U/10U age group and had this to say about the boys’ victory. “A lot of the players in the 9U to 12U age range have grown a lot in the time they’ve been with the club. Antti has set up a philosophy and style of play at the 9 and 10 level that exemplifies the work that we put into this day in and day out. The team’s success shows that results are achievable at young ages when playing a possession-based style that is technically and positionally sound. This is a great milestone for his group and I think it shows that we’re headed in the right direction; hard work pays off. Antti has set the bar and while we can’t expect victory, we CAN use this as a catalyst and motivational tool for players throughout the club.”
For more information on the victory, see the article from Mlssoccer.com or the recap on the Colorado Rapids website. For more information on how to get involved with Rapids winter training see www.rapidsyouthsoccer.org/central.