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The Playbook | MLS Next Flex 2024 Canadian Standouts

The MLS Next Flex event took place in Boyds, Maryland from Friday, May 10th to Tuesday, May 14th, 2024, featuring some of the top players across the MLS Next Academy system. We at FTF Canada were in attendance to witness the action, focusing on the Canadian teams and promising dual-nationals who could potentially represent the red and white of Canada in the future. This article highlights some of the top performances from Canadian players during the event, showcasing the remarkable talent and potential emerging from Canada’s youth soccer scene.

Demitre Adamson | Toronto FC U15 | 2009 Born  | LB

Toronto FC U15 left back Demitre Adamson showcased an impressive display at the MLS Next Flex event, highlighting his unique blend of technical prowess and athleticism. Adamson’s ability to seamlessly integrate into the offensive third while maintaining defensive solidity sets him apart. His technical skills allow him to execute precise passes and dribbles, creating scoring opportunities for his team. Simultaneously, his athleticism ensures he can recover quickly, track back, and defend against opposing attackers effectively. This dynamic combination makes Adamson a standout performer, contributing significantly to both offensive drives and defensive stability, reflecting his potential to excel at higher levels.

Quentin Christey | Toronto FC U17 | 2007 Born | CM

Quentin Christey’s outstanding midfield play for Toronto FC U17 has been a beacon of hope in an otherwise disappointing showing at the MLS Next Flex event. Renowned for his technical soundness on the ball, Christey excels in ball retention, rarely losing possession and effectively unlocking the game for his team. With the departure of prolific center-attacking midfielder Carter Tavares to Europe late last year, Christey has been tasked with a more demanding offensive role in his box-to-box position. Despite the team’s overall struggles, Christey’s performance stood out, as it seems as though he seamlessly adapted to his new responsibilities, displaying remarkable vision and consistency that kept Toronto FC U17’s midfield cohesive and competitive.

Ben Nash | Vancouver Whitecaps U17 | 2007 Born | LB

Ben Nash’s performances for the Whitecaps U17 at the MLS Next Flex event in Maryland were a testament to his relentless work ethic and determination. While he may not be the most technically gifted or athletic player on the field, Nash’s commitment and effort are unparalleled. Game in and game out, he tirelessly patrols the left flank, giving his all in defense and never hesitating to push forward. His energy and dedication are evident as he consistently gets to the by-line to deliver crosses, making him an invaluable asset to his team. Nash’s ability to combine defensive tenacity with offensive support exemplifies his indispensable role, showcasing that hard work and perseverance can make a significant impact.

Sergei Kozlovskiy | CF Montreal U17 | 2008 Born | CB

CF Montreal defender Sergei Kozlovskiy delivered outstanding performances at the MLS Next Flex event in Maryland, solidifying his reputation as a prodigious talent. Renowned for his exceptional passing range, Kozlovskiy demonstrated why he captains the current U17 Canadian youth national team and has earned call-ups to the U20 squad, three years his senior, in their quest to qualify for the U20 World Cup. On the field, Sergei’s composure, vision, and ability to dictate play made him stand out, appearing as a seasoned professional among his peers. His leadership and skill were a treat to watch throughout the weekend, embodying a level of maturity and capability that belies his age and underscores his significant potential.

Isaac Tortola | Columbus Crew U17 | 2008 Born | CM

Isaac Tortola from Columbus Crew U17 has been a standout midfielder, renowned for his exceptional ball control and intense playing style. His passion and work rate are evident in every match, demonstrating a level of commitment and energy that sets a high standard for youth players. This was particularly noticeable at the MLS Next Flex event in Maryland, where his standout play caught the eye of many observers. Regardless of the competition, Tortola’s dedication on the field shows how much the game means to him, as he consistently delivers high-energy performances. Currently representing the United States at the youth national level, Tortola’s dual nationality leaves Canada hopeful for his future allegiance. His dynamic presence and skillset would undoubtedly make him the best midfielder at the U17/2008 level for Canada, highlighting his immense potential and importance to any team he chooses to represent.

Zaky Lachhab | CF Montreal U15 | 2009 Born | LW

Zaky Lachhab, a fullback for CF Montreal U15, delivered an impressive performance at the MLS Next Flex event in Maryland. Despite being a right-footed player on the left side, Lachhab’s natural tendency to cut inside was complemented by his elite technical ability and fearless approach to taking on players 1v1. His skillful dribbling and confident ball control make him a standout on the pitch. As he matures and refines his decision-making, Lachhab’s potential to become a special talent out of the CF Montreal academy is undeniable. His unique style and attacking prowess from the fullback position promise an exciting future for this young player.

Marius Aiyenero | LA FC U16/U17 | 2008 Born | FWD

Marius Aiyenero, a standout striker for LAFC, has already made his mark by representing the U.S. at the U15 level. Born in 2008, Aiyenero is a versatile forward, capable of playing both as a central striker and as a wide player. Recently, he signed a contract with LAFC 2, showcasing his potential and dedication to the sport. As Canada looks ahead to the U17 World Cup qualifiers, there is a strong hope that Aiyenero will choose to represent them, as he would undoubtedly be the best attacking player in his age group. However, persuading dual-nationals remains a challenging endeavor, adding a layer of complexity to his potential future with the Canadian team.

Kunle Tokode | Whitecaps U15 | 2009 Born | Winger 

Kunle showcased his impressive skills at the MLS Next Flex event in Maryland, earning accolades for his dynamic play on the wing. His exceptional ability to beat defenders in 1v1 situations highlights his technical prowess, a rare and invaluable trait that sets him apart as a top talent. While his decision-making on the field still requires refinement to reach professional standards, Kunle’s innate technical quality is something that cannot be taught. This natural talent positions him as a promising prospect for the future.

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