New York City FC’s Academy played in the 1st Internacional e-Soccer Cup Tournament which took place in Madrid, Spain from Feb. 25-27. The Academy played to a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid’s Academy team in a friendly match leading up to the tournament.
Youth Technical coordinator Rodrigo Marion believed that the match against Real Madrid was great in preparation for the tournament.
"The Real Madrid friendly was very helpful for the team because we started to believe in ourselves and in what we have been working on up to this point. We gained confidence and from there we took it one game at a time in the tournament. The tournament consisted of shorter games in which we had to play with more urgency while maintaining our style."
In the tournament, The Academy did well by winning all three of the group stage matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding none.
The New York City FC Academy played the semi-final against Rayo Vallecano and won 1-0. The team reached the final of the tournament, but lost in penalty kicks to Atlético Madrid after a 0-0 draw.
Even though the team was the runner up of the tournament, Marion was pleased with the overall team effort.
“The Club is very proud of the team — being a Club that is so new and performing so well against clubs that have over 100 years of history is a great achievement” said Marion. “As the only American team participating, it should make the entire country proud of achieving so much in an international competition. After this experience, we've realized how far we have come with youth development in this country. This is a sign that our youth affiliates are doing a tremendous job developing players to the age of 13 in the region. The team also received positive feedback from other coaches who were impressed with the quality of the players and the attractive style of play. After these international experiences, the boys are realizing that their pathway to becoming professional players is getting closer and closer."
After playing tournaments in Bolivia and Spain, the Academy is taking some time off from traveling to prepare for their regular season.
“We are giving the boys a week off after this tournament so they can reflect upon all of their achievements and begin rejuvenated for our regular league," said Marion. "We need to prepare them for what comes next— one game every weekend and participating in June in the national showcase that includes the best teams from across the country.”