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Looking Back at the 2024 GA Cup


After 10 days and 14 games, the Generation adidas Cup officially came to a close for Minnesota United. The U15s and U17s represented the club in Bradenton, Florida, last week in this yearly tournament, gaining valuable experience and taking on opposition from all over the world. Vice President of Youth Development Amos Magee was proud of the boys’ overall performance, picking out several notable results.

“It's a great event and a real reminder of where our teams are at,” Magee said. “There were certain games that were really difficult, where the other team posed really difficult problems for us to solve, and we weren't able to do it. Then there were games where we were able to solve the problems and eventually cause problems of our own to the other group. We got some great results, including a shootout win over Manchester United for the U15s, and our U17s were just short of advancing into the championship bracket for a goal called back, losing by one goal to PSV Eindhoven.”



It was a tough start to the week for the youngest Loons, as losses to Orlando City, New England, and Arsenal in group play saw them eliminated from trophy contention early. Every team was guaranteed seven games before leaving Bradenton, though, meaning there would be plenty more chances to show what they are capable of.

Though they lost all three of their group games, the U15s didn’t lose heart in the showcase, picking up an outright win against the Timbers and two shootout victories in a row against Manchester United and CF Montreal. Though they ended the tournament with a loss to Philadelphia Union, they showed marked improvement from their last meeting.

“It was also nice to see us compete against the Philadelphia Union,” Magee said about the match. “The gulf in quality seemed significant when we played them in Phoenix in December, but it was a much closer game this time around. We had some great individual performances, and the goalkeeping was excellent. We tried to put real pressure on teams, though it’s difficult to do that for seven games in 10 days in the heat. But our coaches and our players continued to establish that mentality that the first team and Eric and Khaled have set, and, overall, it was a really important, exciting learning event for players and staff.”

After taking on two English Premier League academies (Arsenal and Manchester United) and holding their own, the U15s left Florida with new perspective and newfound confidence. Lazar Angelovski and Etienne Testa impressed their coaches throughout the tournament, excelling for most of the week.



Justin Ferguson and the U17 squad found more success in the group stage, winning their first match against Strikers FC and taking down DC United in a shootout. They entered their final group match with a chance to top the group, taking on PSV Eindhoven in their final hurdle to the Championship Bracket.

“Anytime we're going to play an international team, the boys are obviously going to be excited,” Ferguson said about the final group game. “Anytime you're going to play an international team with a chance to win your group and go through, it only raises the stakes. They need to play these really important games to learn what it's like to play with high stakes and take risks. We need these moments so that they have to be more brave, more aggressive, and really go after these things.”

Despite creating good chances throughout the game, the concession of an unfortunate penalty kick ultimately saw the Loons lose narrowly. While they’d hoped to go further, Ferguson wasn’t put out by the loss.

“It's disappointing on one hand, because I think we were in the game with good chances and we had the opportunity to win the game,” he said. “At the same time, some things just don’t go your way. People will look at that and say it's disappointing. But what that really is is an opportunity for our young players to come up against something that's really hard, have it not work out, and then have to react appropriately. As you build professional athletes, not every day is going to go well, and not every day is going to go smoothly. Not every game is going to go your way. And a big part of building that is learning how to cope with those moments, bounce back, and be resilient.”

The young Loons gathered themselves for their next game in the Premier Playoff, a showdown with LAFC. Though they fell 1-0, Ferguson saw the resilience he was looking for and appreciated another opportunity to learn about playing in big games.

“Again, we played really, really, really well,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t go through. Again, you can look at that as a negative moment, but I think in reality, we have to look at that as a moment that these guys have to show resilience again; they have to be brave and aggressive still, and we get to see a little bit more about their character. Hopefully they learn what it means to play in these big games, and we get plenty more chances.”

The final three showcase matches saw the U17s take on Necaxa, as well as two MLS academies, before it was all said and done. Forward Darius Randell continued to impress during the tournament, as did Aidan Martinez and goalkeeper Kai Zeruhn. Ty Perkins likewise built on what has been an impressive spring season, alongside several more outstanding performers.

Though neither team lifted a trophy, both the U15s and U17s acquitted themselves well this week, and they’ve more than earned a break. Both sides will be back in action on April 12, when they’ll be visiting FC Cincinnati. In the meantime, the U19s are back on the pitch this Sunday to host St. Louis Scott Gallagher at 9:00 a.m. at the National Sports Center.