Republic FC’s development academy recently concluded another strong season at youth soccer’s highest level. The club was again one of the best in the country, with the U17 side reaching the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs for the third straight year – the only Sacramento area side to earn a chance at national hardware. Republic FC was one of just four Northern California clubs to reach the tournament across all age groups this season. Sacramento’s U15 side wrapped its campaign with three matches undefeated at the MLS NEXT Cup Showcase, including two clean sheets. The U13 and U14 squads again recorded a stellar campaign in their respective regional divisions.
Republic FC again finishes the season as one of the best in MLS NEXT, combining for an impressive 77 wins, 21 losses and 13 draws in league play. The U13 and U15 sides each finished in second place in the Northwest Division standings. Sacramento continued as the region’s top destination for players, pacing area clubs in providing opportunities at the Youth National Team level and seeing three local products make their first team debut.
“Our Academy worked hard to get better every week and showed what it means to be indomitable,” said Republic FC Academy Director Eder Quintanilla. “As a staff, we’re very proud of our players and what they accomplished this year. We have a tremendous base to build on as we turn our focus to next season.”
2023 MLS NEXT Cup Results
Saturday, June 17: 3-1 Win vs. Weston FC
Monday, June 19: 3-0 Win vs. San Antonio FC
Wednesday, June 21: 2-0 Win vs. Solar SC
Sunday, June 18: 1(0)-1(3) (PK’s) Loss vs. Total Futbol Academy
Monday, June 19: 1-2 Loss vs. Toronto FC
Wednesday, June 21: 3-0 Win vs. Florida Rush
The club’s season included a number of highlights and impressive moments. In October, The U15 and U17 squads went unbeaten for two straight weeks against MLS opposition as they took on their counterparts from Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. The U13 squad posted an 11-match winning streak from November to February, and the U14’s a nine-game winning streak between February and April. A combined 10-0-1 record against local rival Sacramento United for the season solidified the club’s youth soccer dominance of the region.
In addition to the club’s team success, the club’s players had another stellar season filled with impressive individual accomplishments. 18 earned invitations to YNT Talent ID camps, allowing an opportunity to impress national talent evaluators. Two players earned a call up to their respective Youth National Teams.
In April, three players – Ethan Kelly, Ezekiel Padilla, Blake Willey, and Ermias Yohannes – earned USL Academy Contracts, providing each an opportunity to play and train with the first team. Yohannes and Kelly each made their first-team debuts in the U.S. Open Cup on April 5, followed by Padilla on July 1 against Rio Grande Valley FC. Republic FC remains the only club in the area offering a direct professional pathway – allowing talented players to rise through the ranks and earn a contract with their hometown pro club.
Republic FC’s youth Academy teams will return to the pitch in August, when they begin training and preparation for the 2023-24 MLS NEXT Season.