The Academy U15 group is a particular one. It’s the Impact’s first age category to have played in the Development Academy every year. The players that were previously in the U14 category, playing only a few tournaments and friendly games, now face real competition year-long.
Despite the discovery aspect of the season, the Impact U15 leads its division after the halfway through with a 9-0-2 record. The group is one of only six unbeaten teams this season out of 90 teams, with an impressive total of 50 goals scored in 11 games.
“The kids had to adjust quickly since they were not in a league the previous year,” said Impact U15 interim head coach Patrice Bernier. “But we have a good group of young players that found their bearings quickly. At first, there was quality, but the collective wasn’t playing at its fullest potential. In the group, there are also players that joined the Academy only last year. But in October, we started to see a team in control of play. The team sprit and style of play was even better.”
The team stood out with high-level performances, like its 4-1 win against New York City FC away, its 5-0 clean sheet win against the New England Revolution and a 6-0 win against Oakwood SC to end the first half off the season in November.
However, like it’s often the case for the Impact teams and other strong sides, the Bleu-blanc-noir U15 opponents play a defensive style of play to avoid allowing too many goals, sometimes even forgetting to move forward.
“We need to play more vertically,” added the former Bleu-blanc-noir captain. “We play against teams that let us control possession. Teams are waiting for us with an organized block. We need to develop our killer instinct in the final third.”
This year, for the first time in this age category, every team finishing the season on top of its division will qualify for the Development Academy playoffs. It becomes even more important for the Impact to solidify its place at the top of the standings by keeping good performances and the results coming. The second part of the season will start on March 16, against the Boston Bolts. The Massachusetts club is right behind the Impact in the standings. No better way to start the new year than with a challenge.