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Haji Wright

U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team

Richie Williams Names 20-Player Roster for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 20-player roster that will represent the USA at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The U.S. opens Group A play against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, at Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes).

“We’re very happy with the 20-man roster that we named, and we think it’s a strong and deep roster,” Williams said. “Obviously there were difficult decisions that needed to be made because we have a very good group, and we have a lot of players that have been here for a year and a half to two years that have really worked hard and developed. That made it difficult in terms of choosing that 20-man roster. It’s not easy when you have to tell players that they haven’t made it. But again, we feel this is a strong roster and it’s a group that’s ready to go and compete and win a championship.”

The USA is paired with Cuba, Guatemala, host side Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in Group A at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. After the USA’s game against Cuba on Feb. 27, the U-17 MNT faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 2, followed by Guatemala (March 5), Honduras (March 8) and Jamaica (March 11).

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond United), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy)
DEFENDERS (7): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ), John Nelson (Internationals), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City Academy), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey), Josh Perez (Unattached), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana), Haji Wright (Unattached)

Four countries from the CONCACAF region will directly qualify from this tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Group A and B winners will clinch a berth for the World Cup and earn a spot in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship title match on March 15. The group’s second- and third-place teams will advance to a playoff stage. Those four teams will be seeded, with the No. 2 and 3 seeds playing in one playoff and the No. 1 and 4 seeds in the other playoff game, both taking place on March 15. The two playoff victors will earn the other two berths for the U-17 World Cup.

Additional Roster Notes:

  • Nineteen of the 20 players also have ties to the Development Academy.
  • Much of this U-17 MNT roster played a big role in the USA’s 17-7-3 international campaign in 2014.
  • The roster includes forward Haji Wright, the leading goal scorer last year with 18 goals in 22 matches. Midfielder Christian Pulisic, who officially joined German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund earlier this month, is coming off a strong 2014 with the U-17s that included 17 goals and seven assists in international play. Both Wright and Pulisic were nominees for 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.
  • The U-17s have had a successful cycle in international competition, including four tournament titles.
  • Most of this group was part of the 2013 Nike International Friendlies championship side and earned a runner-up finish in the 2014 Nike Friendlies.
  • Also in 2014, the USA defeated host Turkey to win the Aegean Cup title, followed by a championship crown at the Josip Katalinski International Tournament in Bosnia-Herzegovina and a title run at the Panama U-17 International Tournament in early October.
  • In preparation for qualifying, the U-17s have had four international matches this month. The U.S. split a two-game set against Panama on Feb. 2 and 4, then showcased a strong offensive display this past weekend with a 5-2 victory against Bermuda on Friday, Feb. 20, followed by a 4-0 win in the rematch two days later.
  • The USA has qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup on 14 occasions, more than any other CONCACAF team. The U-17 MNT’s absence from the 2013 World Cup was the only occurrence that the USA did not qualify for that stage.

U-17 MNT Rallies Past Bermuda 5-2 in Qualifying Primer

BRADENTON, Florida (Feb. 20, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team scored five unanswered goals for a 5-2 victory against Bermuda at IMG Academy. After falling behind by two goals in the opening 18 minutes, the USA stormed back, with Josh Perez’s 50th-minute goal serving as the winner.

Christian Pulisic and Joe Gallardo scored first-half goals to tie the score at 2-2 heading into the half. After Perez’s tally gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead, Haji Wright added a brace, with a penalty kick goal in the 86th minute and another score in the 88th minute. Perez had two assists on the day, setting up Gallardo and assisting Wright’s second goal.

The U.S. and Bermuda square off one more time on Sunday, Feb. 22, at IMG Academy. This will be the USA’s final match in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which opens with a Group A match against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, at Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes).

U-17 MNT Plays 2014 Nike International Friendlies takes a look back at the U-17 MNT's run through the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, culminated by a chance to win the title in the pivotal final game against Brazil.

U-17 MNT Finishes Runner-Up to Brazil at Nike International Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team fell to Brazil 4-1 in the final game of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in front of packed house at the Premier Sports Campus.

Brazil (2-0-1) finished the tournament with seven points, earning the 2014 Nike Friendlies crown and was followed by the USA (2-1-0; 6 points), England (1-1-1; 4 points) and Australia (0-0-3; 0 points).

Forward Andrey and midfielder Evander each scored a brace for Brazil in the win. Evander also added an assist. Christian Pulisic had the USA’s lone goal off of a Haji Wright assist. Pulisic was the USA’s leading scorer in the tournament with three goals.

In addition to claiming the 2014 Nike International Friendlies title, Brazil swept the individual awards. Evander (Golden Boot), Matheus Pereira (MVP) and Bruno (Golden Glove) were all recognized for their performances throughout the three-day tournament.

A fast-paced offensive attack dictated much of the game, and from the start Brazil made sure to set the tone often. The verde amarela exploded out of the locker room with powerful shots from distance and pressured the U.S. defense.

Within the first four minutes of the game, forward Andrey and midfielders Matheus Pereira and Evander had all taken a shot toward U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva, but every attempt went awry as it was either wide, high or saved, thus keeping the USA very much in the game.

In the 10th minute, forward Leandro found himself running toward the goal with only U.S. defender Daniel Barbir by his side. He was able to outrun Barbir with a nice move to the right side but his attempt toward the near post ended up hitting the post instead and went out of bounds.

One of the USA’s strongest chances early in the first half came on the 11th minute when Pulisic outplayed three defenders on the left band and proceeded to send a pass to the middle for midfielder Luca de la Torre. De la Torre took the shot but sent it wide and was unable to make it happen for the USA.

Evander continued to push the USA backwards into its own side of the field as he ran through players and resumed shooting the ball. Finally, a nifty left-legged pass from Lincoln who came to the front after receiving the ball on the midfield found Evander who then took the ball into the box trough the right side and sent it to the far post for the 1-0 Brazilian lead. The goal was the third of the tournament for Evander, who was responsible for nine of Brazil’s 26 shots in the match.

Wasting no time and regrouping fast, the USA started to shift its attention from defense and was able to put together a couple of plays that culminated in a play that tied the score to one apiece.

Haji Wright drove through a few Brazilian defenders on the left band and with some creative footwork was able to get past them and send a perfect ball to the middle where Pulisic awaited to kick it in. Brazil’s goalkeeper Bruno had left his spot, which allowed Pulisic to send the ball right to the middle cleanly and even up the scoreboard.

With both teams on the board, the pace appeared more uniform as each played some strong defense and drove forward. Despite the 1-1 score at the 29th minute, however, the shot differential was visible, as Brazil has outshot the USA 12-3 up to that point.

Brazil’s attack never slowed down, but in the 37th minute the USA tried to take advantage of a sleepy defense and midfielder Alejandro Zendejas knocked a strong shot toward the goal. However, he was not able to curl it on time and it went just wide.

A foul called on Zendejas on the 41st minute set up a Brazil free kick, which led to the second score of the game. The U.S. set up a four-man wall on the left side right outside the box and had two Brazilian men right behind them, looking to clear the ball in case it went their way. Nonetheless, Evander’s free kick sailed over both barriers and straight toward the far post where it found the back of the net with an incredible shot to put Brazil up 2-1 with his second score of the match.

Coming out of the locker rooms for the second half, the teams turned down the fast pace a notch and calmly seemed to control the ball until about the 60th minute. Yet on the 62nd minute, Evander again created problems for the U.S. defense and this time sent a ball to Andrey on the right side. Andrey took the shot and was able to score on a deflection off of U.S.  defender Tyler Adams’ leg to give Brazil the 3-1 lead.

The U.S. quickly responded on the 63rd minute and a near perfect header by Wright down the middle went just wide, as the USA continue to trail Brazil by two goals. Despite a resilient fight, there was not much the USA could do to stop the Brazilian attack.

In the 70th minute, Andrey took a ball from 35 yards out into about 18 yards and sent a textbook shot onto the left corner of the goal. The goal was his second of the night and fourth for Brazil to give them the 4-1 victory.

Next, the U.S. U-17 MNT will shift its focus toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship taking place from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras as the team hopes to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile.

- Nike Internationals Friendlies Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 2, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,500
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            1 0 1
BRA                            2 2 4

BRA – Evander (Lincoln)                              14th minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Haji Wright)           22
BRA – Evander                                              42
BRA – Andrey (Evander)                              62
BRA – Andrey                                               70

USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 19-Tyler Adams, 4-Alexis Velela (15-Tanner Dieterich, 81), 14-Daniel Barbir, 3-John Nelson; 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.) (17-McKinze Gaines, 64), 8-Luca de la Torre, 10-Christian Pulisic, 11-Josh Perez (2-Matthew Olosunde, 52); 7-Haji Wright (18-Pierre Da Silva, 81), 9-Alejandro Zendejas
Subs Not Used: 5-Hugo Arellano, 12-William Pulisic, 13-Logan Panchot, 16-Thomas McCabe, 20-Keegan Kelly
Head coach: Richie Williams

BRA: 1-Bruno (capt.) (12-Carlinhos, 90); 2-Kleber, 14-Thiago, 4-Leo, 6-Caique (13-Alan, 84); 7-Andrey (18-Jean, 90), 15-Renan, 17-Lincoln, 8-Matheus Pereira (5-Matheus Fernandes, 85), 19-Evander, 10-Leandro (11-Ramon, 60)
Subs Not Used: 3-Ronaldo, 9-Eronildo, 16-Mauro Junior, 20-Loran   
Head coach: Caio Zanardi

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 9 / 26
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Caleb Mendez (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: TJ Zablocki (USA)
Fourth Official: Chipalo Street (USA)

U-17 MNT vs. Australia: Highlights – Nov. 30, 2014

The U.S. U-17 MNT overcame an early Australian goal with a goal in each half to post a 2-1 win on match day 2 of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.