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Youth/High School Soccer

Incidents and altercations overshadowed competition at Generation adidas Cup



The Philadelphia Union U-17 team bringing home a second straight Generation adidas Cup trophy was the big headline locally for Union fans but the number of incidents and altercations surrounding the international youth tournament in many ways overshadowed the competition on the field in Florida last week.

The New York Red Bulls made the decision to return home early after three alleged incidents of racial abuse of their players in games against Mexican club Monterrey and HNK Hajduk Split of Croatia. The Union U-17 team wore red tape on their wrists in support of their New Jersey rivals in their 4-2 win over HNK Hajduk Split but were then in the middle of an altercation after beating Flamengo in the semifinal.

Players on both teams were suspended, according to a statement from MLS Next, but Flamengo ultimately did not play in the third place game while the Union went on to win the U-17 competition in a shootout victory over LA Galaxy.

MLS Next released numerous statements during the week including one Sunday afternoon prior to the final where they promised an “extensive review of existing protocols and training programs for all clubs competing in league play and tournament competition.”

The statement in part read:

“MLS Next is deeply concerned and upset by the recent incidents of on-field abuse of players during several games at the GA Cup this week. This behavior is entirely unacceptable, violates the rules of the competition, and our collective effort to ensure a respectful and inclusive environment for all.”

The statement also noted that the investigation into the incident between the Union and Flamengo players “remains ongoing.” Flamengo released a statement of their own stating that they themselves were the victims of racial insults and that it was their decision to leave.

Because of the age of the players, MLS Next has stated that “specific details about allegations or findings regarding any individuals will remain confidential.”

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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