The Sounders Academy U-15 and U-17 teams are on the road this weekend for the MLS Next Flex Event, which serves as the qualification tournament for MLS Next Cup Playoffs.
WHEN AND WHERE: MLS NEXT Flex matches begin May 12th through May 16th at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD.
WHERE TO WATCH: Select matches will be available on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, including the U-17 match against Barca Academy on Tuesday, May 16th at 10:30am PST.
TOURNAMENT STRUCTURE: The event includes teams that qualified for the competition based on their points-per-game rank in MLSNext regular season division standings. Qualifying teams were drawn into groups of four, and the winners of these groups will automatically qualify for the MLSNext Cup Playoffs in Frisco, TX this June.
The U-15’s holds a record of 7W-3L-1T and the U-17’s record is 5W-3L-3T in Flex games this season.
The 80-minute U-15 matches and 90-minute U-17 matches that end regulation in a draw will move to penalty kicks. The winner of penalty kicks will earn two points, while the loser will earn just one.
Saturday, May 13
- Sounders U-17 vs. Cedar Stars Academy (12 p.m. PT)
- Sounders U-15 vs. Inter Miami (2 p.m. PT)
Sunday, May 14
- Sounders U-17 vs. Real JFC (6 a.m. PT)
- Sounders U-15 vs. Strikers FC (8 a.m PT)
Tuesday, May 16
- Sounders U-15 vs. New York Soccer Club (7:45 a.m. PT)
- Sounders U-17 vs Barca Academy* (10:30 a.m. PT)
*Match will be available on MLS Season Pass on AppleTV.
QUOTES FROM THE COACHES:
“[This event is a] great opportunity for the group to compete in meaningful games with a chance to qualify for playoffs on the line. It will be a challenging group, with quality opposition posing different challenges for the players.” - U-15 Head Coach Brayton Knapp.
“This can be a challenge for our players as it’s one of the last events of the season, to get another competitive and learning experience. Our team always compete on this type of events so I’m expecting the same.” - U-17 Head Coach Javier Bravo
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Mohammed Shour (U-17): The goalkeeper is coming off a strong performance in Generation adidas Cup last month and proved he can make big saves if it comes down to penalty kicks.
- Jack-Ryan Jeremiah (U-17): A key member of this squad, Jack has a commanding presence on the field.
- Kelvin Luis-Brito (U-15): He is an influential attacking player. Kelvin is capable of creating goals for himself and his teammates.
- Jack Merrill (U-15): He is a midfielder who is key to not only the team’s possession, but the ability to effectively press and defend as a collective.