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2023 Academy Cup Team of the Tournament

By Staff, 04/26/23, 10:00AM EDT


The best performers from a full week of action!

After incredible Academy Cup performances from hundreds of the nation's elite young players, 44 have been selected to represent the Academy Cup's All-Tournament teams.

Boys First XI

FWD - Greyson Elmquist (Indy Eleven)

Impressive performances in this year’s Academy Cup saw the seventeen-year-old goal scorer take home the golden boot with four goals in as many appearances as well as top the rankings for the golden ball. The Lake City native was key to helping Indy Eleven retain the trophy, bagging a late winner to give his club back-to-back cup championships.

FWD - Daniel Lugo (Tampa Bay United)                  

Narrowly missing out on the golden boot and runner-up to the golden ball, three goals in four games capped off a solid cup run for the Tampa Bay forward. Ultimately falling short in their championship matchup against Indy Eleven, Lugo’s performances provided just a glimpse of what the St. Pete youngster can offer moving forward.

FWD - Ali Taleb (Hartford Athletic)

Runner up in the race for the golden boot, Ali Taleb led Harford Athletic to a third place finish with three goals in four matches. With a string of strong cup showings under his belt, having represented the Lebanon U21 national team last summer, and captaining Hartford’s U19 team during the 2022 season, keep an eye on the 18-year-old as he looks to break into the first team.

MID - Diego Sanchez (Indy Eleven)

Representing his hometown club, the playmaker held a key role for Indy Eleven as they reclaimed their Academy Cup trophy. Proving to be a flexible asset by showcasing both his defensive and attacking capabilities, the Indianapolis local is one to watch after being indispensable for the cup winners.             

MID - Marco Rios (Real Colorado)                

Even after a tough cup run-in saw Real Colorado finish bottom of Group A, individual performances from Rios offered insight into how special of a player the midfielder is. The 16 year old will look to lead the Colorado side to a successful campaign this season.

MID - Evan Petko (Wake FC)

With great displays in the center of the park, Petko established himself as a pivotal figure in the heart of midfield for the North Carolina club. Even finding the back of the net on multiple occasions, the Holly Park homegrown has the tools to be an effective #6 that has a knack for getting on the scoresheet.

DEF - Brandon Munson (Tampa Bay United)

Starting three out of four games for Tampa Bay United, strong defensive showings from the youngster warrant his inclusion in this year’s installment of the Academy Cup’s best XI. Operating as a left back when on the pitch, Munson showcased just how important he was in Tampa Bay’s cup run-in to secure a second-place finish.    

DEF - Darryl Hage (Hartford Athletic)           

Crowned as young player of the tournament, the Ghanaian defender was an integral component to helping his club achieve a respectable third palace finish. Deployed in both a back three and back four, Hage’s defensive versatility and reliability makes him a player to watch for the future.

DEF - Lucas Kegerreis (Indy Eleven)

A rock at the back for Indy Eleven, the Indianapolis local demonstrated an unwavering defensive work rate that helped Indy Eleven lift the trophy. Kegerreis will look to translate this momentum into a tough regular season. 

DEF - Santiago Flores Hanus (Phoenix Rising)        

A modest fifth-place finish for Phoenix won’t take away from Flores Hanus and his commanding displays in the back line of Rising’s defense. Playing centrally in a back three, the 18-year-old defender advertised his defensive prowess while also chipping in with a goal.  

GK - Grey Berglund (Indy Eleven)                

Conceding zero goals, Berglund walked away from Tampa with the golden glove, four clean sheets, and a championship. What more can you ask for? The young shot-stopper served as an excellent last line of defense, solidifying his rightful place between the sticks in this year’s Academy Cup best XI.

Boys Second XI

FWD - Liam Mullins (Phoenix Rising)

Narrowly missing out on the men’s best XI, the young #9 led the line for Phoenix, getting on the scoresheet twice in four games. With a respectable goals tally to his name, the 6 '0 foot forward exhibited why he’s one to watch for this upcoming Academy season.

FWD - Benjamin 'Benji' Chavarria (Indy Eleven)

Starting all three group games and coming off the bench late in their championship matchup vs Tampa Bay, Chavarria offered reliability in the offensive end of the pitch.  Third place in the race for the golden ball, the 17-year-old forward proved to be a consistent performer for Indy Eleven and will look to be a key figure for his club moving forward.

FWD - Brandon Hill (NC Fusion)    

A stellar performance in the Legacy championship game saw the youngster find the back of the net twice in the first half. In what was a rather quiet group stage for the forward, Hill was able to find goalscoring form at the right time to hand Fusion the trophy.

MID - Caleb Johnson (Southern Soccer Academy)

Undefeated in group play, Southern Soccer Academy lifted the trophy in the Select division with help from Caleb johnson, grabbing the equalizing goal in their championship matchup against Charlotte. The midfield Maestro from Powder Springs was instrumental for the Georgia club, contributing three goals in four matches from the center of midfield.

MID - Mathew Larkin (Boston Bolts)

With two disappointing losses in the group stage, the Bolts were able to secure a fifth-place finish with the help of Larkin. Even after picking up a red vs Weston FC, the midfielder from Massachusetts was able to bag three goals in all competitions as his club finished strong.

MID - Leo Santos (One Knoxville)

Knoxville’s first-ever academy signing was on full display for the USL’s latest expansion club. Even after losing back-to-back matches in the group stage, the sixteen-year-old midfielder was unplayable, scoring four goals across the tournament while also getting a brace in the third-place match.  As a former member of MLS club Nashville SC's U-15 academy team, keep an eye on Santos as he’ll look to make waves for Knoxville this upcoming season.

DEF - Shafer Gottlieb (South Georgia Tormenta FC)

After a dispiriting Academy Cup run, Tormenta FC was highlighted by the performances of their up and coming defender, Shafer Gottlieb. Even after conceding six goals in four games, the young center back displayed his defensive dexterity on a number of occasions. As the Georgia outfit prepare for their upcoming campaign, Gottlieb will look to translate his form into the regular season as he leads the backline.

DEF - Matthew Iudica (Wake FC)

1’s across the board for Wake FC led them to a third-place matchup against Hartford Athletic, ultimately falling 1-0 to be handed fourth spot. In light of a middle-of-the-pack finish, performances from Mathew Ludica proved just how crucial he is to his club's defensive system. The 6’0 foot tall defender will be central to providing solidity at the back for Wake FC this upcoming season.

DEF - Gabriel Lopes (AC Connecticut)  

Narrowly missing out on lifting the trophy in the Premier division, Gabriel Lopes’ defensive showings meant AC Connecticut held the best defensive record in the tournament. Conceding only three goals in four games, Lopes will hope to carry his stalwart style of defending into the regular season.

DEF - Carson Turpin (Park City Red Wolves)

A shoe in the for the best XI, class performances from Turpin helped his club secure fifth place in this years Academy Cup. Convincing displays at fullback saw the Red Wolves concede five goals and four games, a respectable figure considering his position on the flank.

GK - Alexis Enriquez (NC Fusion)

Four games meant four clean sheets for Enriquez as the Fusion lift the trophy in comfortable fashion. In what was a generally straightforward path to the championship game for the North Carolina team, Enriquez was calm and collected in goal as he led his club to the best defensive record in Legacy Division.

Girls First XI

FWD - Sophie Wyshner (NC Fusion)            

With three goals in four games, Wyshner leads the line for the Women’s Best XI. Runners-up to NC Courage, the young forward was instrumental for the Fusion’s early success in the group stage. Coming in at third spot for the golden ball rankings, Wyshner walks away from Tampa with a string of impressive performances to her name.

FWD - Rylee Keeley (NC Courage)

Scoring the winner early in the second half of their championship matchup vs NC Fusion, the sixteen-year-old forward put in noteworthy performances to help the Courage hoist the trophy. The Wake Forest native is sure to play an influential role for her club moving forward.

FWD - Lauryn Thompson (NC Courage)

Playing a key role with two goals in three games, Thompson got on the scoresheet to level proceedings in their championship match vs NC Fusion. With a respectable 210 minutes to her name, the young player of the tournament will look to build upon these performances in the upcoming academy season.

MID - Autumn Cayelli (Greenville Liberty)

With a great eye for goal, Cayelli strolled to the golden boot with five goals in four games, capping off a collection of imposing displays. Positioned in the midfield, the 2021-2022 South Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year has a killer instinct in front of goal that will only get better.

MID - Hannah Pachan (Cleveland Force)

With three goals to her name in this year’s Academy Cup, the young midfielder led the scoring charts for her club as they settled for a fifth-place finish. Collecting a hat-trick in group play vs AC Connecticut, the Uniontown playmaker has the tools to be a goalscoring threat whenever advancing into the final third. 

MID - Phoebe Goldthwaite (NC Courage)                

Player of the tournament after taking home the golden ball, Goldwaithe was integral for the Courage as they went on to win their championship match vs NC Fusion. Dictating the game as a deep-lying midfielder, the incoming Duke freshman controlled the center of the park and even chipped in with two goals.

MID - Aaryn Gabriel (NC Fusion)

Grabbing three goals in four games, Gabriel was a staple in John Paladini's lineup as she set the tempo in midfield. Offering versatility in a positional sense, Gabriel was able to contribute both as an attacker and a deep-lying #8, helping her team reach the final vs NC Courage.     

DEF - Isabella Ayscue (NC Courage)

Conceding only one goal in the group stage, impressive defensive displays from Ayscue can be considered the foundation of NC Courage’s Academy Cup triumph. With two clean sheets in all competitions, the Penn State commit exhibited just where her defensive capabilities lie.

DEF - Brooke Dawahare (Lexington SC)      

A Premier Division championship for the Kentucky club can be thanks to a perfect defensive record from Dawahare and her fellow teammates in the Lexington backline. No goals conceded in four games marks a series of excellent defensive showings for Dawahare as looks to translate these performances into the regular season.

DEF - Aven Alvarez (NC Courage)   

Sharing impressive defensive performances with fellow teammate Isabella Ayscue, Alvarez’s role was just as important in making sure Courage’s defensive record remained intact. Contributing on the left and right of a back four, Alvarez’s performances as fullback played a crucial role in NC’s quest to lift the trophy.

GK - Franky Dunlap (NC Courage)   

Sharing the top spot for the golden glove, Dunlap conceded two goals in two games for the Courage. Coming up with several important saves, the young keeper’s composure between the sticks helped her team walk away with the trophy.

Girls Second XI

FWD - Keira Clemens (NC Courage)

With two goals in two starts in the group stage, the young goal scorer was a reliable name in Dave Maddren’s team selections throughout the tournament. Taking part in every game and even leading the attack in their championship match vs NC Fusion, the Duke commit maintained consistent performances throughout the entirety of the Academy Cup. 

FWD - Eva McCoy (Greenville Liberty)

Helping her team claim third place over Indy Eleven, Eva McCoy was a leading figure for the Liberty in this year’s Academy Cup. Starting and contributing in all four games, McCoy’s performances proved herself as an asset to this Greenville team for the foreseeable future.

FWD - Aislynn Maguire (NC Fusion)

With appearances in three out of four games for NC Fusion, Aislynn Maguire supplied dependable displays for the cup runner ups. Even with only one goal in three games, the young attacker provided excellent passages of play both on and off the ball.

MID - Emma Johnston (Indy Eleven)

Leading the goalscoring charts for Indy Eleven, Emma Johnson netted three goals in four games as her team took home fourth place at this year’s Academy Cup. With the Indianapolis team averaging roughly three goals per game in group-stage play, Johnston and her club will look to mirror this attacking output for their upcoming Academy season.             

MID - Sarah Martinez (NC Courage)

Versatile in both attack and defense, Martinez was used in contrasting roles, contributing as both a winger and deep-lying midfielder in NC’s championship run. Given her ability to play in two positions with altering play styles and expectations, Courage has a player that can offer them diversity moving forward.

MID - Tatum Borman (Lexington SC)

Exploding in front of goal for Lexington SC, Borman recorded five goals in four games to cap off an excellent set of individual performances. With a hat-trick in the Academy Cup’s opening game as well as opening the proceedings in their championship match vs One Knoxville, keep an eye on Borman once the Academy season kicks off.

DEF - Quinn Pankiewicz (South Bend Lions)                                

A huge role to play in the Lion’s excellent defensive record, the young defender started three games at fullback while moving into wide midfield to wrap up group play vs Tampa Bay United. Conceding only two goals in four games, Pankiewicz offers defensive solidity while also posing as a competent option moving forward.

DEF - Carli Crews (NC Courage)

Coming off the bench and even starting the final against NC Fusion, Crews’ quality at the back shown through this Academy Cup. Named in the first XI for two games and subbed in during their opening match, the high-ranking defender will play a big role throughout the Courage’s forthcoming season.

DEF - Macey Theriot (LA Parish)

In what was a seemingly lackluster performance from LA Parish throughout this Academy Cup, Macey Theriot stood out as a bright spot. Scoring in back-to-back appearances for the Louisiana club, Theriot was one of the first names on the team sheet, making appearances in both defense and wide midfield.

DEF - Jayden Irby (Greenville Liberty)

Flying under the radar, Greenville’s Jayden Irby put in a number of impressive displays that contributed to the Liberty’s excellent defensive record. Coming off the bench in all three group games and even starting their third-place match vs Indy Eleven, Irby’s inclusion in the team was vindicated through her consistency when on the pitch.   

GK - Mary Daly (NC Courage)

Sharing the spoils with fellow teammate Frank Dunlap, Mary Daly conceded one goal in group play while also getting a clean sheet in the opening match. With both keepers being rewarded the golden glove, Daly has proved herself to be a capable shot-stopper when called upon.

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