U15s and U17s Take on the Buckeye State


The Academy was back in action this weekend, with both the U15 and U17 teams hosting both MLS academy teams from the state of Ohio. FC Cincinnati visited on Saturday, with the Crew taking to the pitch at the NSC the following day. All four matches proved valuable in their own unique ways, making for a largely beneficial weekend of soccer all around. 


In their first game of the weekend, the U15s fell to a clinical FC Cincinnati side by a scoreline of 2-4. Some early errors from the Loons forced them to chase the game early on, and despite creating numerous chances, it proved to be too much to recover from. 

While their spells of positive momentum weren’t as fruitful as the side hoped, the performance of debutant Hamza Elattaoui was a welcome bright spot in the loss. Assistant Coach Jamie Carroll-Rolfe described his efforts as both relentless and progressive, adding a cutting edge to his side in just his first game with the club. 

The second match of the weekend ended similarly, with a 0-3 loss to the Columbus Crew rounding out the double matchweek. Another slow start saw the visiting Crew make the most of some early opportunities before the Loons had a chance to grow into the game. 

Tired legs kept MNUFC from reaching their peak performance level, but the efforts of Tim Dennis helped the side create threatening chances throughout the match. As the game progressed, Dennis demonstrated an ability to adapt to the proceedings, shifting smoothly into a defensive role as needed. 


The U17s likewise started their weekend off against FC Cincinnati, losing 1-4. Despite opening the scoring via Denilson Romero’s goal from a corner, the Loons went into halftime at one apiece. A penalty in the second half saw the visitors jump ahead, forcing MNUFC to push up in search of an equalizer. Cincy took advantage of this aggressive approach from the Loons, adding two more goals before the match ended. 

Kai Zeruhn, Cal Grolke, and Irvin Hernandez gave head coach Justin Ferguson reason to praise his team following the match, stating that he didn’t think the scoreline reflected the match very well. Zeruhn’s time training with the first team appears to be paying dividends, as the young keeper continues to grow and improve his skill set at a rapid pace. 

In Sunday’s match against the Crew, MNUFC picked up their first win of the weekend, earning a 4-3 result after an exhilarating game. The Crew took the first lead, but they didn’t stay on top for long. Just five minutes later, Ty Perkins’ strike from distance leveled the score once again.

Columbus responded with two more goals of their own, putting the hosts down 1-3, but they had more to say before the final whistle. Gavin Stevenson converted a penalty to start the comeback before Perkins let fly twice more to secure the win—and his hat trick—with some impressive long-range goals. 

Though the U19s didn’t play this weekend, they’ll be back to business on Saturday, when they’ll take on Bavarian United at the National Sports Center. Just two days later, they’ll once again host a match, this time against SC Wave. 

Following next week’s U19 matches, all three sides will be heading to Arizona for the GA Cup, taking a break from regular season play for one of the largest events on the Academy calendar.