The Colorado Rapids Academy’s U-17 and U-15 teams traveled to Indio, California, this week to compete in the 2022 MLS NEXT Fest at the Empire Polo Ground. The annual competition provides an opportunity for North America’s top youth talent to be seen by college, national team and professional scouts/coaches in a single location.
The seven day tournament, which kicked off on December 2, features over 400 of the top youth teams across the United States and Canada who are competing in the MLS NEXT Fest Showcase and Generation adidas Cup qualifiers.
The Rapids’ U-17 and U-15 teams will each compete in three matches over the course of the tournament. The U-17’s kicked off their three game slate with a match against Minnesota United on Friday, December 2. The match ended in a 2-2 draw with Patrick Dormoh and Andres Romo leading the attack for the Burgundy Boys.
The U-17’s have started their season with a winning record of 4-3-6, earning them a third place standing in the MLS NEXT Frontier Conference. With the team accumulating 27 goals in 13 matches, the young Rapids attack has been led by the scoring efforts of Josh Elicerio who has bagged seven goals this season, followed by Dormoh with five and Joel Ineh with four. The U-17’s backline continues to impress with Diego Gurrola and Adam Beaudry each recording a clean sheet so far this season. The team heads into Saturday with a match against Charlotte FC on December 3, followed by their final match of the MLS NEXT Fest against D.C. United on December 5.
The U-15’s are heading into the MLS NEXT Fest with a regular season record of 8-3-2 and a third place position in the MLS NEXT Frontier Conference. The team has seen major success in its season thus far with outstanding performances on both ends of the pitch. Goalkeeper Leo Medina continues to hold his team to a high standard in defense with eight clean sheets in his 11 matches on the pitch. Meanwhile, Landon Strohmeyer, Noah Chavarria and Brian Villalba have dominated the final third with a combined 15 goals.
The team will face its first match on Sunday, December 4, as they take on Inter Miami CF. They will then see Minnesota United on Tuesday, December 6, and Toronto FC on Wednesday, December 7.
To learn more about the MLS NEXT Fest, click here.