This past weekend the Real Salt Lake Academy officially began its quest for back-to-back MLS NEXT Cup Championships, beginning the 2021-22 season against Real Colorado.
The U15 squad, led by Head Coach Andrew May, were the first to take the pitch. With a group made up entirely of players new to the RSL Academy, May was tasked with bringing together the young men in a short span in order to begin the season. The U15 squad produced a squad that rolled Real Colorado 4-0, leaving spectators none-the-wiser as to their limited time playing together.
Goals from Carlos Castrejon, Max Lora, Josiah Martinex and Axel Uriostegui led the way for the team offensively, while a clean-sheet performance from Ty Rinker in goal included a penalty save, helping the team cruise to victory.
“It was a great start to the season,” May said. “It’s a long process and this is just the beginning of their journey.”
In its first match since lifting the 2021 U15 MLS NEXT Cup trophy, the newly-promoted U17 team battled to a 4-3 win over Real Colorado. Director of Academy Coaching Arnold Rijsenburg took the reins of the group, rolling out a lineup that included six members of the Championship side, with three more available off the bench.
Picking up right where they left off, Izahi Amparo, Axel Kei, Evan Pickering and Jude Wellings all scored in the tightly contested match, while goalkeeper Fernando Delgado and defenders Gershon Henry and Haroun Conteh sought to hold out Colorado’s offensive efforts.
“It was a very difficult first game of the season,” Rijsenburg said. “We had to fight hard for 90 minutes to get the win. As expected, there is still a lot of work to do.”
Both teams will travel to Los Angeles, California this weekend to face LAFC on Sunday, September 12. The U15s will take the field at 10:00 a.m. MT and the U17s will follow closely behind at 12:00 p.m. MT.
Prior to Saturday the U17 team will take part in its first official United Premier Soccer League match against Spider FC on Wednesday, September 8 at Zions Bank Stadium.