New York City FC U-17s narrowly missed out on a place in the Generation adidas Cup semifinals in Texas.
Atletico Paranaense clinched the one qualifying spot from NYCFC’s group but the Boys in Blue can already reflect on an excellent learning experience at the competition which saw them record victories over Real Madrid and Sporting Kansas City.
HIGHLIGHTS:NYCFC U-17s 1-0 Real Madrid U-17s
Ultimately, the defeat to Paranaense in the opening game meant that City finished a creditable second in the group in the Champions Division, the highest level of competition at the tournament.
However, at this level, results good or bad are always secondary to development and growth opportunities, as Academy Director Rodrigo Marion explains.
The Bolivian was delighted with the reaction shown by the players in their eye-catching victory over Real Madrid on the second gameday and believes that the players will have learned a great lesson about every second counting in short, intense tournament play.
Marion told NYCFC.com: “The players felt they didn’t perform the way we wanted to in the first game against Paranaense and they brought that motivation into the second game.
“You could see the response of the players – how committed they were to every play in all phases of the game.
“The team worked together very well, they played good soccer and knew how to manage the game – that to me is a great takeaway from the tournament, especially after that first defeat.”
Marion also explained that half of NYCFC’s roster is playing up an age-group at the competition, which meant that, in many cases, City were facing against far more physically developed players.
This is a common theme across NYCFC’s Academy as coaches strive to put forward challenges for players to overcome, to prepare them to make the jumps up to ever-increasingly higher levels of the game.
“Half of our roster was one year younger than the opposition, so we’re challenging our players even more,” Marion said.
“They were able to achieve second place in a group with excellent teams – this is a big achievement. The experience of playing against international renowned clubs is a memory our players will always remember.”
NYCFC U-17s will remain in Frisco through the week and, after a couple of days’ break, will return for two more consolation games, the first one against the host FC Dallas. The second match will be against either Frankfurt or Independiente Del Valle from Ecuador.
As well as having this opportunity to fix details and take on high level opposition, Marion will use the remain days in Texas to continue bonding the team, taking advantage of the immersive tournament environment and the time available to spend together for development.
“We need to continue focusing on our game principles, but more importantly on connecting the group and supporting them on their future decisions,” Marion added.
“We’re using these games as a learning opportunity for our players to improve in areas we feel need improvement, especially against top level teams.
“This long tournament gives us the opportunity to spend more time with the players off the field, allowing us to have individual meetings and talk with them one on one, helping them think about their future and areas of their game they want to work on.
“It’s a really important time for us and the experience will be good for all of the players and the staff for the remaining part of the trip.”