With an unbeaten record and zero goals allowed, the Chicago Fire Academy Under-15 team were crowned champions of the 2018 BellSport Tournament in Zakopane, Poland on Sunday.
After 10 28-minute matches played over three days in south Poland, the Academy U-15s boasted a record of 7-0-3 with 13 goals scored and zero allowed. After qualifying for the championship division with a 3-0-2 record in their opening five matches, the team won four of five in the group -- only dropping points in the tournament's final phase in a 0-0 draw against French giants Olympique Marseille -- en route to a division-best 13 points. They were crowned champions at the closing ceremony.
"Our players had to adapt to a variety of different styles and formations against teams from various futbol cultures -- such as France, Poland and Bulgaria," head coach Selim Talbi said. "Clinching the championship trophy, conceding no goals in 10 games and Justin being voted best player of the tournament is a just reward for the hard work and determination this group of young men have put in since we kick started our season last August.”
Defensive midfielder Justin Reynolds was named the Player of the Tournament for his efforts, while goalkeepers Gabriel Slonina and Christopher Brady were the only net-minders not to allow a single goal throughout the 10 matches.
“A global futbol education is a now a key part our academy program at Chicago Fire," Director of PASS Brian Roberts said. "Providing our players with the opportunity not only to play top quality international competition, but allowing them to immerse in a different culture is something that will have a lasting impression on their lives."
|Friday, Oct. 19||PFC Beroe Stara Zagora (Bulgarian First League)||W, 1-0|
|Friday, Oct. 19||FC Lahti (Finnish Premier League)||W, 5-0|
|Friday, Oct. 19||IF Brommapojkarna (Sweden's Allsvenskan)||D, 0-0|
|Saturday, Oct. 20||AP Podhala Nowy Targ (Poland)||W, 3-0|
|Saturday, Oct. 20||Wisla Krakow (Polish Ekstraklasa)||D, 0-0|
|Saturday, Oct. 20||Ślask Wroclaw (Polish Ekstraklasa)||W, 1-0|
|Saturday, Oct. 20||Olympique Marseille (Franch Ligue 1)||D, 0-0|
|Sunday, Oct. 21||Beroe Stara Zagora (Bulgarian First League)||W, 1-0|
|Sunday, Oct. 21||Pogoń Szczecin (Polish Ekstraklasa)||W, 1-0|
|Sunday, Oct. 21||VJS Vantaa (Finland)||W, 1-0|