New York Red Bulls U13 champion of the 26th edition of the U13 Cup Bassevelde
After a week in Belgium, the New York Red Bulls academy can put their name up alongside the likes of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Celtic, and other European powers as Bassevelde Cup champions.
The U13 Cup Bassevelde is an annual meeting of some of the top academy teams from across the world. It has been deemed the “Champions League” of U13 competitions, but for the first time in its 26 year history, an MLS club was in attendance.
The Red Bulls U13 team was the talk of the tournament, but was an unknown quantity for many in attendance heading into it. Over a two day period, though, they showed what they could do.
The New York Red Bulls started the tournament in a group with European academy powers like SL Benfica and PSV Eindhoven, along with an all-star team of local Bassevelde talent.
2-1 wins over Benfica and the Bassevelde U13 select team, along with a 1-1 draw with PSV, placed the Red Bulls at the top of the group and set up a match against Italian giants Juventus.
A last-minute goal stunned the tournament and saw the Red Bulls run away 1-0 winners and semifinalists.
A 2-0 win over West Ham United in the semifinals, winners of their own group, meant that the Red Bulls were one win away from the trophy.
In front of a crowd of over 2000 people, Belgian side Club Brugge NXT stood in the way of the Red Bulls and a tournament title. Brugge NXT arrived at the final having won all of their matches by a combined scoreline of 13-2.
In the first half, for the first time all tournament, the Red Bulls trailed. A second half surge turned the game around, though, and New York emerged as 2-1 victors and champions.
“The group made the entire club proud with their performances against top European competition,” Senior Manager of Academy Business Operations Ryan Brooks said. “We go to these events to compete and showcase what we can do. This group did just that.”
For many of the kids that made up the Red Bulls U13 team, it was their first time traveling this far for a soccer tournament.
From being away from their families, to having the opportunity to interact with players from across the world off the pitch, BijKebbe (headcoach NYRB u13) believes it was a valuable learning experience. “Values like accountability, teamwork and discipline were all at top display in his tournament- being away from home for this long for the first time,” BijKebbe said.
The team can look back on a fantastic week that was crowned with the title on Sunday. A great achievement for the boys, who returned to the USA with an experience they will never forget.