MLS announced the details for the 2019 Generation adidas Cup on Thursday, an elite youth tournament featuring top clubs from North America and across the globe. The tournament will feature U-17 and U-15 competitions at the Toyota Soccer Center at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas from April 13-20.
The future stars of the sport will be on display as 21 MLS Academy teams participate in an expanded U-17 competition that includes 15 premier international clubs, the largest field in the 12-year history of the tournament. International clubs competing in the Generation adidas Cup will be announced in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
Intense rivalries will also play out in this year’s Generation adidas Cup with the debut of a U-15 tournament between MLS and Liga MX. Four clubs from each league will participate in the tournament, with clubs facing each team from the opposing league once. An exciting fifth and final matchup will pit the first-place Liga MX side against the top MLS club in a winner-take-all showdown for North American bragging rights. The Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls, LAFC and Toronto FC are the four teams who qualified for the tournament.
The U-15 tournament between MLS and Liga MX clubs is the latest competitive initiative in the collaboration between the two leagues, following in the footsteps of Campeones Cup and the MLS Homegrown Game team annually facing a Liga MX U-20 team.
“The industry leading partnership between adidas and Major League Soccer continues to drive the evolution of player development in North America through the growth and success of programs like the Generation adidas Cup. With MLS Academy teams participating, along with renowned international clubs, the Generation adidas Cup provides a world class platform for North America’s best players to measure themselves,” said Aaron Maines, director of soccer sports marketing for adidas, in a statement.
For the third consecutive year, an educational coaching symposium, featuring presentations and lectures from top domestic and international soccer minds will be held throughout the tournament.
“The Generation adidas Cup is a world-class competition that offers MLS Academy teams the opportunity to compete against some of the most talented youth players across the globe. With the addition of more international clubs, we are excited to see the most competitive iteration of the tournament yet,” said MLS EVP of competition and player relations Todd Durbin. “This year’s introduction of the new U-15 tournament against Liga MX clubs enhances a growing partnership that bolsters the sport across North America on and off the pitch.”
Tournament play began with three regional tournaments (East, Central and West) featuring U-17 academy teams from 21 MLS clubs. All 21 MLS U-17 academies competed in two regional qualifying events from October 2018 to February 2019, with the eight top-finishing MLS clubs advancing to play in the Championship Division where they will face off against eight international opponents.
The remaining 13 MLS clubs will play in the Premier Division against a field of seven international sides. Likewise, MLS U-15 teams played qualification rounds, with the top four teams advancing to the U-15 division Liga MX-MLS showdown.