U.S. Roster Finalized for CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Jamaica
â€¢ U.S. Will Play Cuba on Feb. 14 and Panama on Feb. 18 in Three-Team Group B
â€¢ Top Four Teams Will Advance to the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico from June 18â€“July 10
â€¢ Thirteen Players on Qualifying Roster are Part of U.S. Soccer Development Academy
CHICAGO (Feb. 11, 2011) â€“ U.S. Under-17 Menâ€™s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera has finalized his 20-player roster for the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The U.S. team will travel to Jamaica on Saturday, Feb. 12, ahead of its opening Group B match against Cuba on Monday, Feb. 14, at Catherine Hall Stadium at 3 p.m. ET. The U-17s round out play in the three-team group on Friday, Feb. 18, against Panama with a 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Jarrett Park. Fans can follow all of the U.S. games on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker with updates on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals with Group B set to crossover against Group A which is made up of Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Haiti. The winner of Group B will face the second-place finisher in Group A, and vice versa. The quarterfinal winners will move on to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
â€œOur first goal has to be to qualify,â€ said U.S. head coach Wilmer Cabrera. â€œWe need to focus on the first three games. Then weâ€™ll see what happens after that. Itâ€™s one game at a time.â€
More than half of the players on Cabreraâ€™s roster are part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, with a total of 13 playing for clubs across all four conferences. The roster also includes seven players that have been in U.S. Soccerâ€™s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., since the start of this two-year cycle. Alejandro Guido, Andrew Oliver, Marc Pelosi, Fernando PiÃ±a, Mario Rodriguez, Nathan Smith and Andrew Souders are all currently in their fourth semester.
â€œWeâ€™re going with the guys who we think are ready to participate in this tournament,â€ said Cabrera. â€œThese are our top 20 players right now and we hope they can prove themselves at this event. They know what to do, and have a very good concept of what we need as a team.â€
Pelosi leads the current group in goals and caps, having scored six times in 20 international appearances at the U-17 level. Pelosi scored a hat trick in the teamâ€™s most recent international game, a 6-0 win against fellow CONCACAF side Honduras on Jan. 30, in Bradenton.
He will be joined in midfield by Esteban Rodriguez and Tarik Salkicic who also bring a wealth of experience at the international level with 14 and 16 caps, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Jordan Allen is the newcomer to the team, having joined Residency in January. Rounding out the group of midfielders is the lone player on the roster not currently part of the Residency Program. Matt Dunn, a Dallas native, is part of the FC KÃ¶ln set up in Germany but has been training with the team in Florida since January, and was part of the team that competed at the Nike International Friendlies in Phoenix last December.
Souders wore the captainâ€™s armband for the U.S. during the Friendlies and his 17 caps lead an experienced group of defenders. Smith has made 16 international appearances during his two years in Residency, while Mobi Fehr has played in nine international games since joining the program from Tokyo in August of 2010.
Kellyn Acosta, one of only three players born in 1995 on the U.S. roster, has made his presence felt on the left flank, with Joe Amon and Zach Carroll solidifying the back line.
The lone professional player on the roster, Jack McBean of the LA Galaxy signed a Homegrown Player contract in January. The Southern California native is one of the least experienced at the international level, in contrast to fellow forward Mario Rodriguez who has appeared 18 times for the U-17s.
Alfred Koroma rejoined the U.S. team after a year-long absence from Residency and scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win on Jan. 30 against Jamaica. Andrew Oliver and Paul Arriola round out the group of forwards who combined have scored eight goals through the first three games of 2011.
Fernando PiÃ±a has emerged as the top-choice goalkeeper for Cabreraâ€™s squad and holds a career goals against average of just 1.15 in 13 international games. Kendall McIntosh has proven to be a solid backup, with the most recent of his five appearances coming in a Jan. 27 shutout of Jamaica.
â€œThe good thing is that we have been to Montego Bay so we know what the travel, the fields, the weather, and the environment is like there,â€ said Cabrera, referencing the team's trip to Jamaica in late January which included nineteen players on the qualifying roster. â€œWeâ€™ll get there for this event on the same day as everyone else. Weâ€™re all going to be there two days before, but we went two week ago and played there, so we know what kind of environment weâ€™re going to be going into.â€
In Jamaica, the U.S. will be looking to continue its record as the only country to have qualified for all 13 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Two years ago at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Tijuana, Mexico, the U.S. won all three of its group games to advance to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup before the semifinals and final of the tournament were canceled because of precautionary measures surrounding the H1N1 virus.
U.S. Under-17 MNT Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kendall McIntosh (Mustang Academy; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Fernando PiÃ±a (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas)
DEFENDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Joe Amon (South Carolina United FC; Summerville, S.C.), Zach Carroll (Vardar; Grand Blanc, Mich.), Mobi Fehr (Tokyo Verdy 1969; Tokyo, Japan), Nathan Smith (Cal Odyssey; Clovis, Calif.), Andrew Souders (Crew Soccer Academy; Amherst, Ohio)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Jordan Allen (Empire United; Rochester, N.Y.), Matt Dunn (FC KÃ¶ln; Dallas, Texas), Alejandro Guido (Aztecs Premier; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marc Pelosi (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Esteban Rodriguez (Cosmos Academy West; Palmdale, Calif.), Tarik Salkicic (Strictly Soccer; Pinellas Park, Fla.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids Academy; Brighton, Colo.)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (Arsenal FC; Chula Vista, Calif.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Chelsea SC; Arlington, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Andrew Oliver (Westside United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Mario Rodriguez (Central Aztecs; North Hollywood, Calif.)
U.S. Under-17 MNT CONCACAF U-17 Championship Schedule
|Feb. 14Â||CubaÂ||3 p.m. Â||Catherine Hall Stadium; Montego Bay, JamaicaÂ|
|Feb. 18Â||PanamaÂ||4:30 p.m.Â||Jarrrett Park; Montego Bay, Jamaica|
|Feb. 22Â||Quarterfinal*Â||TBDÂ||Catherine Hall Stadium;Â MontegoÂ Bay, JamaicaÂ|
|Feb. 24Â||SemifinalÂ||TBDÂ||Catherine Hall Stadium;Â MontegoÂ Bay, JamaicaÂ|
|Feb. 27Â||Third place/FinalÂ||4 p.m./ 7 p.m.Â||Catherine Hall Stadium;Â MontegoÂ Bay, JamaicaÂ|