The fall segment of the Development Academy season wrapped up a few weeks ago, with MNUFC teams finding success at all levels during its second season. The Loons played some of the best players in the country, including academies from other MLS clubs.
MNUFC fielded a U15 boys team for the first time this fall, bringing several players up from the U14s, while adding many new players to the program. The team started off its first year with a big road win against divisional opponent FC United Soccer Club.
A brief home-stint at the end of September was one of the few times the U15s have had a chance to play on its home field, facing tough opposition in Chicago Fire SC and Indiana Fire. The boys had their first meeting with in-state rivals Shattuck-St. Mary’s in mid-October, charging out to an early lead but a late comeback secured the win for the visitors.
The squad felt some growing pains over the course of a long road stretch in the fall, including the first part of 2018-19 Generation adidas Cup Qualifying in Toronto. The Loons faced the toughest teams in the pool in the opening games in Toronto FC, Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC. The team will get a chance to bounce back against Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City when qualifying resumes in February.
The U14 squad has had a wildly successful fall portion of its season, including a great run of form heading into the break. It took some time for the boys to get momentum going at the start of the year, as they split results in the opening six games.
The hard work early in the season paid off as the team traveled to the Development Academy Boys’ Central Region Showcase in Illinois during October. The boys dominated the opposition, putting up a perfect 4-0-0 record including three clean sheets. They bested Armada FC Pro, Houston Dynamo, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City SC by a combined score of 10-1.
The Loons carried the momentum from the Showcase into the final weeks of the season, as it looked to head into the break on a high note. They remained unbeaten in their final three games, claiming two wins and a draw against squads from Illinois and Michigan.
Like the rest of the Development Academy teams, the early season road trip made for a tough start to the season for the U13 team. However, the team bounced back quickly to find its winning form just in time for its first home games. The squad went on a four-game unbeaten streak in late September with a trio of home games and capped off with statement road win against local rival Minnesota Thunder Academy.
The U13s also traveled to the Central Region Showcase in October, and like their U14 counterparts, found success in the competition. The Loons went 2-2-0, getting wins against Sporting Kansas City and San Antonio FC.
They pulled out all the stops in their triumphant return home in early November, stomping Saint Louis FC Illinois by a 6-0 margin. Despite a few tough results on the road to end the session, the U13s have set themselves up nicely for a good run in the spring.
The Pre-Development Academy got a chance to play on the national stage this fall as well. The U12s traveled to Atlanta to face off against fellow MLS academies in the U12 Generation adidas Cup. The Loons played games against LAFC, Houston Dynamo, Atlanta United, New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew SC and eventual champions Colorado Rapids.
The DA teams will now head indoors for training throughout the winter as they prepare for a return to competition in March. Schedules for all MNUFC Academy teams can be found on MNUFC.COM.