The first half of the season for the U17 team had its highs and lows. The team still managed a solid 9-4-1 record and is at the top of the Northeast division, in front of Beachside Soccer Club and Empire United.
Last season was extended until mid-July as the U17 progressed all the way to the final four of the playoffs, the first time in Montreal Impact Academy history for this age group, meaning their summer break was much shorter than usual. Like every year, some older players joined the U19 group, while the U17 team was completed with graduating U15 players.
“We had some great performances, and others that showed us we still had work to do to reach our goals,” said the Impact U17 head coach Nicolas Gagnon. “The group is good, but we need to recognize different situations in the game and show more maturity. It’s normal at this age, but we still need to improve.”
In September, the Impact U17 won its away game against New York City FC 3-1, before losing two home games in two weeks against the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union. The Bleu-blanc-noir also had a good Winter Showcase in Florida, managing two wins and a loss before the break.
The U17 group is playing in two competitions at the same time. The team played 14 regular-season games in the Development Academy, as well as three qualifying games in the Generation adidas Cup.
Its GA Cup games were more difficult, with one win and two losses. Despite this record, the Impact U17 is still in the race to qualify for the Champions Division with three more games to play in February, in Houston.
Their only win was against Toronto FC, in a high-intensity matchup at Centre Nutrilait. The Impact won 2-0.
“The game against TFC in Montreal is the most complete one we played, especially after the first 15 minutes,” added Nicolas Gagnon. “We were able to use our qualities and make good decisions to come out from behind and destabilize them. Our pressure caused them problems.”
Nicolas Gagnon’s team has many challenges to face in the second part of the season. The team will want to solidify its position at the top of the division and start the playoffs on a positive note in the hopes of being as successful as last year.
The Bleu-blanc-noir will also have the intention to qualify for the GA Cup Champions Division and take part in the highest level of this competition.