The Impact’s 2017-2018 season in the Development Academy made quite an impression. The three teams finished first on the season, they all finished in the Top 7 in a league consisting of more than 80 clubs and the U17 team reached the semifinals in Kansas City.
The Impact U19 had a memorable season with a 20-2-4 record, winning all its games until November 12.
“There were high-level performances and quality during most of the season, and we translated that into results,” said Impact U19 head coach Philippe Eullaffroy. “These high-level performances bring out emotions in the players, the staff and those who watched the games.”
Out of 29 games played, including the playoffs, the Impact only lost three times. The Bleu-blanc-noir scored an average of 3.17 goals per game and allowed only 0.93 goals per game.
“Our beautiful season also resulted in three U19 players – Mathieu Choinière, Daniel Kinumbe, Clément Bayiha – training with the pros since January, and being selected to the Canadian U21 team at the Toulon Tournament, one of the best in this age category in the world. They performed against teams like France and Portugal.”
With a fifth straight qualification to the playoffs for the Impact U19, a tradition of excellence is in place at the Academy.
This Impact U19 team was composed of players born in 1999 and 2000. For the players born in 1999, the end of the season also means they graduate from the Academy. Some players will have the chance to train with the first team and get an MLS contract with the Impact, others have NCAA options with American universities and other players will try to get a contract in a lower division.
Most importantly, this generation is the first that includes many players that passed through all of the Academy teams since its foundation in 2011.
“We can see the results of the progress we have made during these seven years. The U17 and U15 results also confirm the progress and the work that is done. We think that this good U19 season is not an exception and that it will become the norm. Now, we want our three teams to qualify for the playoffs every year, and we want all of them to have the potential to reach the semifinals.”
Throughout the season, Philippe Eullaffroy’s group demonstrated a strong unity and a sense of family. Despite two different age groups, every player was focused on the goal every game. As a top-of-the-standings team during most of the season, the Impact game was circled on the opponent’s calendar as one of the most important matchups of the season every time.
Now, with the older players leaving the Academy, the players born in 2000 will be joined by the ones born in 2001. These younger players just ended their season and will bring with them an interesting experience, as they reached the league’s semifinals.
“In the 2000 group, there was a lot of progress made during the year. This progress is also measured by the leadership. Going from one generation of players to another is an easy transition at the Academy because the players are in the system, they know the club’s identity and our approach. It’s a natural rotation.”
The end-of-season break won’t last long, as the players will be back to training in the beginning of August for the new season.