On Saturday morning, the Real Salt Lake Academy finished its venture in the inaugural International Champions Cup Futures presented by Rakuten tournament after falling to English side Tottenham Hotspur 1-2.
“One of the biggest takeaways from the tournament for our staff is that we had the chance to benchmark our players against some of the best in the country and the world,” Head Coach Miek Kraus said. “Not only can our staff do that, but the players can compete outside their comfort zone and begin to adapt quicker to a higher level of play.”
RSL opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over PA All-Stars on Monday, courtesy of two goals from Ethan Calimpong before Blake Bernal notched the game’s third goal in the victory. Providing both assists to Calimpong was Isaac Calderon while Julio Benitez played provider for Bernal’s strike. In the second match of the tournament RSL faced off with Germany’s Bayern Munich where it fell 2-0 after conceding two first half strikes.
Going in search of a birth to the quarterfinals, RSL faced English side Arsenal F.C. on Wednesday where it eventually fell 0-3. RSL would then move on the ‘Bowl’ side of the bracket to meet the New Jersey All-Stars where it defeated the East Coast side in penalty kicks to move onto a meeting with another London club in Tottenham Hotspur. After a hard-fought battle with the English side, RSL ultimately fell 1-2 in the quarterfinals of the ‘Bowl’ bracket as an own goal from Spurs in the first half gave RSL its goal.
RSL fielded a U-14 contingent with players from not only Utah, but Nevada and Arizona making up the team. 18 players represented the RSL Academy with seven from Arizona, six from Nevada, & five players from Utah representing the RSL Academy for the event.
The week-long tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida runs from July 16-22 features 24 teams from the United States and Europe, made up of some of the world’s best U-14 players, with 8 teams being from Major League Soccer’s Development Academy. Additionally, 8 State-represented All-Star teams and 8 European academy teams associated with some of the world’s top clubs will be in attendance.
The quarterfinals of the tournament will be televised on ESPNU on July 20th with the semifinals being carried on ESPNEWS on July 21st. The tournament’s final match will be carried on ESPN2 on July 22nd.