The Inter Miami CF Academy presented by Baptist Health always aims to improve its players with challenging, competitive scenarios. This season, Inter Miami CF II is giving our young Academy talent the opportunity to do just that. The team’s inaugural MLS NEXT Pro campaign will kick off today, March 26 at 6 p.m. ET when the team faces Columbus Crew 2 at DRV PNK Stadium.
With the formation of MLS NEXT Pro, select members of the Inter Miami CF U-17 Academy team will have added opportunities to participate in practices, and even compete in matches, with Inter Miami CF II. This new division was announced in Dec. 2021, and will act as the middle stage in the Major League Soccer pathway. Players can earn their spot in the Academy with MLS NEXT and prepare in a professional fútbol environment in MLS NEXT Pro before officially becoming part of MLS with the First Team.
According to U-17 Academy head coach Javier Morales, the opportunity is a significant one for the players, but one that will require extreme dedication.
“It’s a great opportunity for them. Having the chance to train and play with players that are already training with the First Team is great. Could it be a challenge? Yes, but I believe that they are ready to take the opportunity. I’m very excited for them,” said Morales.
When discussing the U-17s, Inter Miami CF II head coach Darren Powell expressed excitement for the group’s capabilities.
“Currently, the U-17s are playing some of the best soccer that we’ve seen at that age group since the club’s inception,” said Powell. “The players that have come through, what we’ve noticed is that they’re very hungry and they’ve come with a good humility to come and work hard, and they’ve adjusted quite well.”
Morales expressed that he feels the added flexibility of playing in MLS NEXT Pro will be key to furthering the development of his talented U-17 players.
“It’s the best thing that could happen to develop players from the Academy all the way through the First Team. This is the best path for them. Everything will be smoother and provide an easier transition to help players to get to the First Team,” added Morales.
Powell, meanwhile, touched on the adjustments that will be necessary for these young students of the game to learn at a professional level.
“I think the biggest adjustment for younger players is that when they’re playing older players and bigger players, can they adapt to the game to keep up to the speed? The U-17s currently have done well,” declared Powell.
With Inter Miami CF II’s first match approaching, Powell took a moment to reflect on what he feels the U-17s will bring to the team this season.
“They’re young players, they bring energy, and it’s fresh. They bring energy to training and they bring energy to the locker room. That’s been really positive for the group, they’re pushing the players. They come in and they’re ready to play. It creates good competition for places in the field.”
Morales, meanwhile, reflected on what he wants the U-17 players to get out of their time with Inter Miami CF II.
“The experience will be the most important thing, but they have to understand that this is a process. They have to keep working hard and learn from it to one day have the chance to play at the MLS level,” concluded Morales.
Don’t miss the action and support Inter Miami CF II at DRV PNK Stadium during the team’s home games. Tickets cost only $5 (plus fees) and will be only available for purchase online at Ticketmaster. Purchase your tickets for Inter Miami CF II’s first three home matches of the season HERE.