MLS NEXT Fest Preview: Academy Heads to the Desert to Face Top Competition

December 5, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Sacramento Republic FC News Release

One more challenge lies ahead for Republic FC's youth development academy squads as Fall 2023 comes to a close this week. The club's U-15, U-16, and U-17 teams all head to Phoenix, Arizona for MLS NEXT Fest to take on top competition from across the country. The midseason tournament is one of the largest youth soccer events in North America each year - bringing together over 300 teams at youth soccer's highest level for over 800 matches across six days.

Each Squad's Schedule


Dec 7. vs. Seacoast United

Dec. 9 vs. Real JFC

Dec. 10 vs. Kalonjo SA


Dec. 7 vs. Murrieta SA

Dec. 9 vs. FC Delco

Dec. 10 vs. Wake FC


Dec. 5 vs. Tampa Bay United

Dec. 6 vs. Alexandria SC

Dec. 8 vs. Strikers FC Irvine

Republic FC's youth sides will each take the pitch three times before the week closes. The U-15 side will meet three times with East Coast squads, with the U-17's and U16's both taking on top clubs from Florida, North Carolina, Southern California, New Jersey and more. Youth Soccer Central highlighted the U-15 and U-17's opening matches against Seacoast United and Tampa Bay United as some of the top games on the schedule.

Three Quails Honored as Best in their Age Group

Thursday and Friday, three young players from Republic FC will participate in the tournament's "Best Of" matches - recognizing top youth standouts from clubs across the country in an East vs. West format. Only 22 players were selected for each the East and West squads in each age group. Thursday, U-17 defender and first team signee Chibu Ukaegbu will partake in the U-17s contest, and on Friday, Sean Baitinger and Rylan Hashimoto will take the pitch for the U-16 and U-15 contests.

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