My son’s U15 MLS Next team recently attended the 2023 MLS Next Fest in Phoenix, Arizona. Overall, it was an amazing experience for the players and the parents!
Our team went 0-2-1 so not the outcome we would’ve liked but we faced some tough matches. At the same time, our boys were able to see first-hand some talented players on the other side of the field.
During the 5-day event, my son was selected to the U15 Best Of Match which was essentially an All-Star game for non-MLS academies.
In this article, I’ll recap the showcase along with pics of our experience.
MLS Next Fest Highlights
This year’s MLS Next Fest was a blast and lots of high-level soccer was being played. From the Uncommitted game to the pro academies facing off against each other and everything else in between, it was five days of soccer madness!
Personally, some of the highlights from our trip included:
- My son’s U15 team playing highly ranked teams: We faced off against Sacramento Republic FC, Total Futbol Academy, and Southern Soccer Academy. All three teams have great records and have won against pro teams such as LA Galaxy.
- My son playing in the U15 Best of Match: Although the East got spanked, it was a great experience. Those types of games are tricky where individuals want to display their skills so passing was sometimes an afterthought (which is expected).
- Seeing top talent from pro academies: We were able to watch many games during our visit. Teams such as FC Dallas, Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, and Philly Union were very impressive.
- Seeing D1 scouts in attendance: Based on the scouts I saw, there’s no doubt that MLS Next is the top league for boys. I saw many Ivy League Schools as well as top-ranked colleges such as UCLA in attendance.
- All players supporting each other: It was fun to see players supporting other players. If you caught a game and someone scored, the boys would celebrate with each other on the sidelines.
- Players and parents creating memories: For our team, we were able to host dinners and get-togethers at the house we rented. It’s one of those experiences that bring the team together.
MLS Next Fest Photos
Here are some photos from our days in Phoenix. I’m not the best at taking pics of games as I enjoy watching rather than being Mr. Photog.
By now, you probably know how I feel about the 2023 MLS Next Fest. It was a great experience and looking forward to attending again.
Based on the feedback, I’m assuming they will have it in Phoenix/Scottsdale area again. The only gripe I do have is that some of the fields weren’t in great shape. Although flat, some fields were almost completely dirt. This is probably expected as the fields don’t get watered every day and the sun just pounds on it.
We are looking forward to attending the next MLS Next event in Nashville!