In San Marino, Molina stood out in a deep field of U-16 teams from top-level European clubs. Swedish power Malmö FF won the tournament, defeating Atalanta B.C. of Italy’s Serie A in the title game. The tournament field also included Torino F.C. (Serie A), SK Sturm Graz (Austrian Bundesliga) and A.C. Cesena (Serie B).
“It was the consistent level of his performance through all three games,” said Dynamo director of youth development James Clarkson. “He performed at a really high level in the first game and he just got better as the tournament went on. It was his nonstop work ethic, his attacking mentality, the chances he created, and I just feel it was his determination and commitment to very single game that won him the MVP award.”
Molina, entering his sophomore year at Mayde Creek (Houston) High School, scored in the Dynamo Academy’s 1-1 draw with Torino FC on June 10.
The award continues an excellent start to 2014 for the 16-year-old. In February, Molina earned MVP honors at the C3 Cayman International Football Tournament.
“He started the season with the under 15s and got moved up the under 16s and that has really benefitted him," continued Clarkson. "He is consistently one of the better performers on that team. He will be going to the Academy Playoffs next week and I feel he has great potential. His nickname is “Little” for a reason, but he has the heart of a lion and his work ethic, his technique and his speed are fantastic.”
The Dynamo Academy U-16 team opens the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs on June 23 in Westfield, Indiana. The U-16s went 11-5-11 this season and are in Group C, along with Match Fit Academy FC (New Jersey), Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Weston FC (Florida).