Major League Soccer today announced the details for the 2016-17 Generation adidas Cup hosted by FC Dallas, which kicks off its 10th iteration on Friday, April 7 at the Toyota Soccer Center at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The nine-day, elite youth competition will feature 34 total games streaming live on MLSsoccer.com, with semifinals, finals, and select group stage matches for the first time incorporating video assistance for referees.
The future of MLS Homegrown talent will be on display as 19 MLS Academy teams participate in the U-17 competition, and 13 premier international clubs – the most ever since their inclusion in 2013 - partake in the Generation adidas Cup.
The 2016-17 tournament features top international clubs, including the likes of Spanish giants Real Madrid C.F. and Malaga CF, and Mexican powers Tigres UANL, C.F. Monterrey, C.D. Guadalajara, Pumas UNAM and Club Tijuana. Also competing are Argentine forces C.A. River Plate and Estudiantes de la Plata, Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt, and rounding out the international contingent are Ecuadorian side Independiente d. Valle, Brazilian club Flamengo and Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa.
“The growth and success of the Generation adidas Cup continues in 2017 with what will surely be the most competitive edition. The powerful partnership between adidas and Major League Soccer continues to drive the success of the event. With renowned international clubs such as Real Madrid, River Plate, and Flamengo, along with all MLS Academy teams, the Generation adidas Cup provides a world class platform for our Homegrown players to test and prove themselves,” said Jason Davis of adidas America, Senior Manager Grassroots and Players.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2007, D.C. United has won the title a record three times (2007, 2009, 2010), while Real Salt Lake (2008), LA Galaxy (2011) and Philadelphia Union (2012) have each won once. International clubs have taken home the top prize three times, with the English Premier League’s Stoke City winning in 2014 and Argentina’s River Plate claiming the title in 2015 and 2016.
“The Generation adidas Cup is a world-class competition that offers MLS Academy teams the opportunity to compete against some of the most talented youth players and gain valuable insight into current coaching trends from these talented international clubs. The level and quality of the competition continues to rise year after year and provides a platform in which to display and evaluate the growth of MLS’ youth development system across North America,” said MLS Technical Director of Competition Alfonso Mondelo.
Tournament play began with three regional tournaments (East, Central and West) featuring U-17 academy teams from 19 MLS clubs. Each team competed in two regional qualifying events from October 2016 to February 2017, with the top two finishers in each region and the two highest third-place teams advancing to the Champions Division of the GA Cup finals and sorted into the following four groups:
|GROUP A||GROUP B||GROUP C||GROUP D|
|FC Dallas||LA Galaxy||Atlanta United||New York Red Bulls|
|Real Salt Lake||Sporting Kansas City||Colorado Rapids||Toronto FC|
|Independiente d. Valle||Eintracht Frankfurt||C.A. River Plate||Club Tijuana|
|Real Madrid C.F.||Flamengo||Malaga CF||Estudiantes de la Plata|
The remaining MLS Academy teams will compete in the Premier Division, consisting of the following four groups:
|GROUP A||GROUP B||GROUP C||GROUP D|
|New York City FC||Chicago Fire||Columbus Crew SC||D.C. United|
|Seattle Sounders FC||New England Revolution||Orlando City SC||Houston Dynamo|
|Deportivo Saprissa||Philadelphia Union||San Jose Earthquakes||Portland Timbers|
|Pumas UNAM||C.F. Monterrey||C.D. Guadalajara||Tigres UANL|
The 2016-2017 Generation adidas Cup will also feature the third annual U-12 tournament, featuring current MLS Academies in addition to future expansion club Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Both LAFC and current expansion club Atlanta United received their first academy action in last year’s tournament. The small-sided 7-v-7 competition will be held at the Toyota Soccer Center from April 13-15 and will feature 18 MLS Academy teams (Atlanta United, Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LAFC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC). Spanish clubs Villarreal C.F. and Malaga C.F. round out the U-12 group.
Generation adidas group play begins on Friday, April 7 with the two division tournament finals set for Saturday, April 15. A full Generation adidas Cup competition and live stream schedule, and further information on the tournament can be found HERE.
An educational coaching symposium, featuring presentations and lectures from participating international clubs including Real Madrid C.F., Villarreal C.F., Malaga C.F., Estudiantes de la Plata, River Plate, Flamengo and Eintracht Frankfurt, as well as representatives from Major League Soccer and its clubs, will be held on non-playing days in the afternoons of April 10, 12 and 14.
For the first time, the Generation adidas Cup will include live, in-game Video Assistant Referee (VAR) testing, as Major League Soccer and the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) remain at the forefront of this global initiative. Under the protocol required by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the universal decision-making body for the Laws of the Game, MLS and PRO will incorporate the initiative into select matches with VARs utilizing video technology to help referees identify clear errors or serious missed incidents in four game-changing situations -- goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity. The philosophy of the testing will be to create minimum interference with maximum benefit. MLS has the goal of implementing in-game VAR testing into the regular season, following the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Further information about the VAR project is available HERE.