Taking part in the 2023 MLS NEXT Flex competition held at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland, St. Louis CITY SC Academy teams showcased their talent by posting a 5-3-1 overall record and securing two automatic bids for the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs. Spanning five days, the competition featured the top 256 teams in MLS NEXT, with all three St. Louis CITY SC Academy teams competing at that level (U-15s, U-16s, U-17s) in attendance.
U-15s battle but come up short
Competing in U15 Group D, the boys were served a tough result in their competition opener, dropping a competitive 1-0 match to LA United Futbol Academy. The U-15s rebounded, however, with a 2-1 victory over San Antonio FC Academy the next day. Still in position to potentially clinch the top spot in their division entering their final match, the U-15s faced off against a fierce New York City FC U-15, and their opponents took control early en route to a 5-2 win. Despite finishing third in their group, the team had a handful of standout performers throughout the competition, with forward Stone Marion notching a team-leading two (2) goals.
U-16s show out with undefeated run
The U-16s kicked off their competition with a hard-nosed match against Baltimore Armour Academy, playing to a 2-2 draw in regular time before falling 4-2 in the ensuing shootouts. Goals were easier to come by for the boys in their next two matches, besting Orlando City Youth Soccer U-15s 5-1 and then collecting a 6-1 win against LA Surf Soccer Club the following day. Among the eight players on the team who scored during the competition, forward Nolan Burcke led the way with five (5) goals. With their top-place finish in U16 Group P, the U-16s earned an automatic qualification for the 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.
U-17s post two clean sheets in fruitful weekend
Squaring off against Sporting Kansas City Academy in their first match, the U-17s brought it to their in-state foes in a 4-0 win. The boys’ high-flying offense continued in a 5-0 win versus Total Futbol Academy the following day. In their third match, the U-17s were met by a stout defensive side in San Jose Earthquakes Academy and lost 3-1. Over the three contests, five different players found the back of the net, including forward Mykhi Joyner who scored a team-high four (4) goals. With these results, the U-17s claimed the top spot in U17 Group D, earning an automatic bid for the Playoffs as a result.
All four Academy teams are in action next weekend, with the U-15s, U-16s and U-17s all wrapping up their regular season play. The U-15s and U-17s will hit the road for fixtures against Columbus Crew Academy teams on Saturday and then travel across the state for matches versus FC Cincinnati Academy teams on Sunday. Also playing on the road, the U-16s will head east for a match against Indiana Fire Academy. Rounding out the weekend, the UPSL team will host Nashville Now Soccer 365 in an afternoon clash on Sunday.