The 2017 Generation adidas Cup was held April 13-15 at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas where the Sporting Kansas City U12s competed against other MLS Academy teams across the country. This year’s team consisted of players from the SKC Academy as well as a record sox Academy Affiliates including: Sporting Arkansas, Sporting Blue Valley, Sporting Kaw Valley, Sporting Omaha FC, Sporting St. Croix, and Sporting Wichita. The players listed below represented Sporting KC at the highest level both on and off the field throughout the Generation adidas Cup.
- Gage Akalu (SKC Academy)
- Jacob Bartlett (Sporting Blue Valley)
- Nati Clarke (Sporting Kaw Valley)
- Cole Essner (Sporting Omaha FC)
- Lucas Jeff (Sporting Arkansas)
- Leif Kammer (SKC Academy)
- Kelly Kipruto (Sporting St. Croix)
- Cooper Lijewski (Sporting St. Croix)
- Geremi Onentia (Sporting Wichita)
- Adrian Perez (Sporting Wichita)
- Ryan Reid (Sporting Blue Valley)
- Sam Schendt (Sporting Omaha FC
The SKC U12s were placed in Group A for pool play where they would face MLS foes New York City FC, Los Angeles FC, Columbus Crew SC, and Chicago Fire. The SKC U-12s kicked off their GA Cup on Thursday, April 13 with a brilliant start by beating New York City FC 3-2 in a thrilling back and forth game. The U12s gained their first victory of the tournament with goals coming from Kipruto, Schendt, and Clarke who finished on a header from a corner kick in the final minutes to secure the win. Later that afternoon the U12s faced opponent Chicago Fire. SKC gained an early lead in the first half with some nice moves from Akalu to get free from defenders and slot the ball into the back of the goal. The Fire replied quickly with a goal of their own after Perez saved the initial shot, but the Fire pounced on the rebound and scored to tie the game. The second half was filled with great opportunities and defensive stops from both teams, but the game would end in a 1-1 draw.
The next day the U12s began play with their first game of the day against LAFC. Sporting KC got off to a perfect start by gaining the lead as Jeff played a quick ball from a free kick to Kipruto who finished with a shot in the bottom corner. LAFC replied instantly on a quick break and were able to equalize the game at 1-1. The U12s fought hard and gave it their all the entire game, but unfortunately LAFC got a late penalty kick and scored to win 1-2 giving SKC its first loss of the GA Cup. The U12s second game of day against Columbus Crew SC ended in 0-0 draw in a defensive battle and great saves from both keepers.
Upon finishing in third place in Group A of the Generation adidas Cup, the Sporting KC U12s played in two playoff games to end their weekend in Frisco. The U12s kicked off their placement playoff match against the hometown hosts FC Dallas. FC Dallas took an early lead off a rebound, but SKC responded quickly with Akalu firing a shot to score off a long throw-in from Bartlett to tie the game. FC Dallas scored later in the first half off another rebound to go into half time ahead of SKC 1-2. In an exciting second half, the SKC tied the game up in the final seconds from another long throw-in from Bartlett who found Kipruto who headed the ball into the net to force the game to penalties. After 7 rounds of intense penalties, including one from keeper Perez, SKC moved onto the next round of the GA Cup! For their final game of the GA Cup, the SKC U12s faced Houston Dynamo to fight for ninth place out of the 20 teams in the Cup. The first half ended with the game tied 0-0 with SKC determined to finish their GA Cup on a high note with a win. Both teams ended up finding goals in the second half and once again the SKC U12s found themselves in a familiar scenario with the game going into penalties. Bartlett, Kipruto, and Akalu stepped up to take penalties with all of them scoring to help secure a SKC win over the Houston Dynamo. With this win the Sporting KC U12s placed 9th in Generation adidas Cup.
Throughout their weekend in Frisco the SKC U12s were also able to enjoy great off-field experiences. The U12s had dinners with Sporting KC U16 Academy team where they were able to talk and learn from older players about their experiences in soccer. The U12s also got to meet Spanish and Real Madrid soccer legend Raul after their thrilling win against FC Dallas!
Sporting KC would like to congratulate the SKC U12 Academy team and players on a fantastic performance in Generations adidas Cup. With a record six Academy Affiliates represented on the roster, Sporting KC is looking to grow this number for future GA Cups.