The Austin FC Academy’s U-15 team made history on Sunday by winning the 2023 Generation adidas Cup, following a seven-match gauntlet at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The team’s defense, anchored by goalkeeper Nicolas Aristizabal and center back Gavin Wolff, was its bedrock throughout the tournament, allowing just two goals in those seven games. The team won penalty shootouts against New England Revolution and Columbus Crew in the group stage, and picked up an impressive 2-0 regulation win over Club América to advance to the knockout round.
Another pair of 2-0 wins followed in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. The Verde & Black first defeated San Jose Earthquakes with goals from Abner Zuniga and Cole Coughlin, then turned over one of the pre-tournament favorites in New York Red Bulls. Zuniga was once again on the scoresheet against New York, with Tate Duax sealing the win for Austin.
Upon reaching the semifinals, ATXFC found itself paired with Belgian side KRC Genk. After a 0-0 stalemate in regulation, Aristizabal proved the hero, stopping two Genk penalty kicks in the ensuing shootout to send the team to the final.
Austin dueled to a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union in the final on Sunday, and once again relied on their expertise in penalties to get the job done. Aristizabal saved Philadelphia’s seventh attempt to secure the team’s fourth shootout victory of the tournament and win the trophy for the Verde & Black.
Midfielder Viggo Ortiz was named the tournament’s MVP for his performances throughout Austin’s run to the title.
Supporters met the team at the airport upon its return to Austin on Sunday night, celebrating the triumph together.