The Minnesota Thunder Academy is one of three clubs in their first year with the Development Academy and just wrapped up its first Showcase event with a 1-0 win against CASL Chelsea FC Academy over on Field 18 at the Reach 11 Sports Complex.
The U-15/16 Thunder defeated the New England Revolution earlier on the weekend and drew with the New York Red Bulls – two impressive results for a first-year club playing against MLS Academies. We caught up with U-15/16 head coach Alex Bunbury to get his thoughts on his first Academy season and first Showcase.
You may remember Alex from his impressive career with the Canada MNT, with whom he played 65 times and scored 12 goals. He also spent time with the Kansas City Wizards from 1999-2000 – The same club where is son, Teal, currently plays. Teal just earned his first cap for the U.S. MNT against South Africa.
“It was important for us to show that there are players and teams from Minnesota that can play at this level. We discovered that this weekend. The icing on the cake was getting some very good results so we’re very pleased. I’m humbled by it. We did well here and unfortunately the older boys haven’t performed up to their potential. It’s a great learning experience for them so I’m very pleased.”
“There is definitely a learning curve here and they’re getting a chance to see that for themselves. To be in the thick of things is always the main objective, and to see how you respond to that. I thought our boys responded absolutely superbly.”
“I think the event itself is exactly what we need for soccer in America. I think it’s very important. I compliment all the staff and everyone who organized this event and everything around it for these young men. I think it’s superb.”