Academy

Sounders Academy teams set sights on MLSNext Cup Playoffs

Screenshot 2024-05-14 at 9.11.11 AM

The Sounders Academy U-15 and U-17 teams are heading to Nashville for the MLSNext Cup Playoffs.

Thirty-two teams from each age group will play a single elimination tournament to determine 1 Champion per age group. Teams eliminated from the R32 or R16 will be placed in Showcase matches to complete their three matches for the event.

A draw determined the Playoff bracket for all age groups, which led to the U-15’s facing New England Revolution and the U-17’s facing BW Gottschee from Queens, NY.

“I think in a single elimination tournament anyone has a chance,” U-15 Head Coach Brayton Knapp said. “If we are competitive and come to fight, then we have a chance against anyone.

“[It’s] Been a season of ups and downs,” Knapp continued. “A lot of learning and growth from the group. We’ve been able to push some top talent in to U-17’s and contributed significantly and that’s always the goal of the Academy.”

Omar Hassan is a U-15 players who has spent time on the U-17 roster this season, and most recently with the U.S. U-15 Youth Men’s National Team, where he traveled to Croatia for a 5-day event and was named tournament MVP.

“I want to bring the same intensity and mentality that I had with the national team,” said Hassan. “It’s a lot of hard work, but if we focus on the first match, we will do well.”

U-17 Goalkeeper, Mohammed Shour, is familiar with showing up in big games.

“The tournament in Maryland was key to make payoffs,” noted Shour. “We worked hard for the results and earned the opportunity to be here.

“We need to take care of the little things,” Shour added. “Training matters, what we eat matters. This could be our last game.”

Xavi Bravo, U-17 Head Coach, has led one of the youngest U-17 teams in the country, with most players born in 2008.

“We are bringing our best possible team, and the boys are focused and excited to start,” said Bravo. “All the staff is ready and excited as well to see them compete at their peak during this event, after assessing and watching excellent performances at GA Cup and the MLS FLEX event.”

Both Academy teams took advantage of the 20-man roster rule for this event. Tacoma Defiance midfielder Snyder Brunell will be joining the U-17 squad, adding a veteran presence and professional experience to the group.

“I want to provide leadership as much as possible – assists, goals,” said Brunell. “This is a good group and I’m excited to compete with them. I know we can do well.”

Coach Xavi also noted that the adversity and challenges the group have faced throughout the season have prepared them for MLSNext Cup Playoffs,

“The group needed to adjust to the new age group, requirements, demands, and opponents- especially in the first part of the season,” he said. “The consistency and relationships developed by the team on and off the field have been remarkable and it’s one the strengths of the team. The collective aspect is the strength of the team, the team is more important than any individual.”

ROUND OF 32 SCHEDULE

Saturday, June 15th 3:15pm PT U15 vs New England Revolution

Sunday, June 16th 3:15pm PT U17 vs BW Gottschee*

*Watch live on Apple TV with MLS Season Pass

Follow Sounders Academy on Twitter (@SoundersAcademy) and Instagram (soundersfc_academy) for scores or visit https://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext/tournaments/cup/.

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