The Inter Miami CF Academy presented by Baptist Health is set to kick off the 2022-23 season this weekend, with its eight teams across seven different age groups from U-12 through U-19 ready to continue showcasing South Florida's top youth talents in another new and exciting campaign.
The U-13, U-14, U-15, U-17 and the newly incorporated U-16 teams will continue their participation in the MLS NEXT league for the upcoming season, while the U-12 teams will continue to compete in the Florida Academy League. All sides will aim to replicate the 2021-22 season's success, as all age group topped their respective leagues.
Additionally, the newly incorporated U-19 team will compete in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) in its inaugural season, making Inter Miami the ninth Major League Soccer (MLS) club to have an academy team competing in the league. The Academy's U-19 team will be part of the UPSL’s highly competitive Florida Central Premier Conference, but will play its inaugural season in the Fall in the Florida South Premier Conference.
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-12A vs. South Florida Football Academy (Completed Match)
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-12B vs. South Florida Football Academy (Completed Match)
The Academy's U-12 sides once again are led by head coaches Ben Applefield and Julius James.
Looking ahead, Applefield believes that there is a key objective this season, and he thinks that achieving it begins with the team’s identity. “Our overall objective for the U12 age group is to set the foundation for the players to be able to progress through to the next age groups of the Academy and to the next steps in their development. As this is the entry point to the Academy, a big focus of ours is establishing what it means to be a part of Inter Miami CF. This ranges from how we want to play on the field, how the players carry themselves in and around the facility, instilling the values and culture of the club as well as what it means to represent Inter Miami off the field.”
Applefield then expanded about how he believes that there is a relationship between success and team chemistry. “Collectively we have a strong belief in our identity and who we want to be as an Academy. Last year we saw the dividends of this in the successes and experiences that were shared across all the teams. Looking forward, our identity and belief in who we are will stay the same. But with that said, we are constantly looking at ways to improve and ways to enhance the work that is already being done. So we are working hard collectively as a staff to build off of the strong foundation that has been put in place over the last few years. Our aim is to continue to elevate our standards and what we can achieve with the players.”
Former professional soccer player James then shared how he believes that success begins at home with the player's families. “The objective mainly in the first semester is to culture the players and the parents, from tactical/technical proficiencies and training habits to social responsibility. As the base of the academy, it is important that we do this to ensure quicker progress in the older age groups, especially for those who graduate and move or skip through the ranks.”
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-13 vs. South Florida Football Academy, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
Head coach Gibran Tevar will once again be at the helm of the U-13 side, with assistant coach Chris Munoz working alongside him.
Ahead of his fourth season at the Academy, Tevar shared how the U-13 team is an important piece of the club's development pathway, which strives to provide a platform for the best talents in South Florida to progress from the youth categories to the profesional levels of the game.
"Going into the fourth season of the academy as a coach and having had a fantastic 2021-2022 season, my objective is to continue our mandate which is to transition players from 9v9 format to 11v11 format. It's a tough task to start to cement the larger-sided ideas and have the players adapt to a larger field as they go through their physical development. We strive to ingrain our game model and the principle of play at this early stage so that players can have easier transitions into the older age groups and are ready to compete at a high level. We have developed a conveyor belt of talent and competence across all age groups and will continue to do so this year with this crop of talent."
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-14 vs. South Florida Football Academy, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
Guided by new head coach Giuseppe DePalo and assistant coach John Deeley, the U-14 team is ready to get another season rolling.
“Our objectives with the 09s are simple. First, it’s to compete against each other every day in training in order to maximize development.” Said DePalo. “Second, we want to continually improve collectively each week in our matches. Hopefully, we can win some games along the journey and continue to enjoy our football. As an academy as a whole, we want to continue leaving a legacy in South Florida while at the same time making an impact at the national level in MLS Next.
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-15 vs. South Florida Football Academy, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
Former U-14 head coach Pedro Cavalcanti is now in charge of the Academy U-15 team with Alex Kuehl as assistant ahead of a thrilling 2022-23 season. The team is coming from a historic 2021-22 campaign, as it won the MLS NEXT Cup to be crowned National Champions in the U-15 category.
Cavalcanti is aware of the step his own players will be making this upcoming season. “The U15 is the first year these players compete at a national level and they go into the season with the motivation to follow the footsteps of our 2007 age group that won the first national championship of IMCFs history. Our objective for this year is that our the team represents Inter Miami with a clear identity on and off the field and that each player takes an important step in their development. Our approach is to strive to be the best version of ourselves each day, establish clear goals and action plans, be united in the good and bad moments, and make sure to enjoy the process.”
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-16 vs. South Florida Football Academy, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
The Academy's newly formed U-16 team will be managed by Ihor Dotsenko.
“One of the core values of Inter Miami CF is Ambition, so staying true to the Club’s core values, we want to set ambitious goals for our teams and our players. For the U16 team, our goal is to win the MLS Next National Championship. For the Academy collectively, we are striving to laser-focus on individual player development and on closer integration between the Academy staff to ensure that our players are constantly challenged to maximize their potential," he shared.
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-17 vs. South Florida Football Academy, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
After a fruitful 2021-22 season for the U-17 side in which the team was Generation adidas Cup semifinalist, was invited to Liga MX tournament as one of the top two MLS academies, and qualified for playoffs, head coach Javi Morales will once again be in charge of the team alongside assistant coach Cristian Ledesma.
"The objective is always the same: try to focus on developing players for the first team. Help them in any aspect to grow, that is our main objective. But we understand that the kid wants to compete and win games. Also, that is part of the development, creating a culture where the players can compete at any level,” expressed Morales.
- Inter Miami CF Academy U-19 vs. City Soccer FC, Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. ET at Inter Miami CF Training Center
The newly incorporated U-19 team will be led by former U-15 head coach Victor Pastora.
“The creation of our U-19 academy team completes our academy platform and illustrates once again the commitment of our ownership group to player development and the promotion of south Florida young talented players through the sport," explained Pastora. "Players develop, mature, and accomplish promotions at different times. Our objective is that by the end of the season our U19 rostered players secure a University program and compete for an opportunity to make our MLS 2 roster. When they accomplish this, they can continue to advance in the sport, school, and in their life. We are committed and looking forward to an exciting and decisive season for these young men.