FRISCO, Texas – The MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs start today, Friday, June 25 and FC Dallas players and coaches have been anticipating the event for weeks now. The event is being held at FC Dallas and Toyota Stadium with ages U15, U16, U17, and U19 competing.
“We are really happy to be at home, we’re ecstatic. I think it’s an advantage for sure, we just need to capitalize on it,” said FC Dallas U15 Academy Head Coach Alex Aldaz. “This is the biggest event of 2021 in terms of recruiting and scouting. Not just for MLS Academy looking at players, but especially for US Youth National teams U17, U20, and college soccer. There will be a ton of division one coaches here from all over the country. I think our players, the U15s, realize that this is an opportunity to enhance how they are perceived as players among the community of coaches that can help their trajectory upward. It’s a wonderful opportunity for talent identification and I think it’s been on all the players’ minds these last couple of weeks.”
The tournament will be concluding the regular season and teams have been preparing and training for the tournament throughout the season and during other previous tournaments.
“It’s been a difficult season with Covid, especially in the spring. It’s been a really long season. With that being said, we still won the division with a young team. We are very optimistic with the boys we have in the program. Results are important but more than anything we want players that are being developed the right way,” said FC Dallas U17 Academy Head Coach Matias Asorey. “Whenever you play in an elimination tournament from the beginning, the goal is to qualify. We are going to take it one game at a time, we are not looking past the first game.”
MLS NEXT is heavily focused on scouting and talent identification so preparing mentally is equally as important as preparing physically. The players will have lots of eyes on them throughout the tournament which could result in new opportunities moving forward.
“The club’s motto is 'Busca La Forma' which means 'find a way'. This is the perfect phrase to sum up our mentality going into MLS NEXT cup,” said FC Dallas U17 player Will Baker. “I think I can speak for the whole club when I say that it is an honor to be hosting the inaugural MLS NEXT Cup. It also gives us a home advantage, which is always nice.”
“As a team we have been going over tactics daily in practice and getting the repetition in to better prepare us for in-game scenarios,” said FC Dallas U17 player Tarik Scott. “Personally, I want to be the creator for my team, I want to be the leader and the one they look to when the going gets tough to provide goals or big plays.”