CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has selected a 20-player roster for the Aegean Cup, which runs from Jan. 20-25 in Manisa, Turkey.
The USA has been placed into Group B with Norway and Scotland, as well as perennial attendee and reigning champion France. Host Turkey, Azerbaijan, Greece and Ukraine comprise Group A. The two group winners will play in the championship match on Saturday, Jan. 25, while the two group runners-up will meet the same day to decide third and fourth place, respectively.
The USA begins the tournament against France on Jan. 20, before facing Norway on Jan. 21 and Scotland on Jan. 23.
This is the third international tournament for this edition of the U-17 MNT. Previously, the team collected an unbeaten 1-0-2 record during a tour of Madrid, Spain, last October, and most recently won the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., by defeating Brazil 4-1 in its final match to claim a tournament-best 2-0-1 record.
All but two players on the roster, Pierre Da Silva and Tanner Dieterich, have ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Of the 15 players currently registered with Academy teams, four are members of MLS Academy sides – Hugo Arellano, Carlos Avilez, Matthew Olosunde and Haji Wright.
Additionally, U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team players Avilez and Nicholas Taitague have been called up and could see their first action with Williams’ U-17 side during the trip.
U.S. MNT ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas Academy; Dallas, Texas), Will Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.)
DEFENDERS (6): Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Tanner Dieterich (unattached, Tenn.), Edwin Lara (unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis, Mo.; St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Nicholas Taitague (Richmond Strikers; Midlothian, Va.), Devin Vega (San Antonio Scorpions; San Antonio, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), Orrin McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.) Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Eleven players on the tournament roster were teammates on the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team that took third place at the Copa Mexico de Naciones last August under the guidance of head coach Richie Williams. The eleven players include: Hugo Arellano, Eric Calvillo, Joe Gallardo, Edwin Lara, John Nelson, Matthew Olosunde, Logan Panchot, Christian Pulisic, Nicholas Taitague, Alexis Velela and Haji Wright.
- Thirteen players on the U.S. squad have been part of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., since last autumn, not including forward McKinzie Gaines and defender John Nelson, who were added to the Residency roster this spring.
- Nelson was previously included on the roster for the U.S. U-17 MNT’s tour of Madrid last October and for the Nike International Friendlies this past December.
- This will be the first international tournament with the U-17 MNT for Gaines, forward Elijah Rice and midfielder Devin Vega. Rice and Vega have been in Residency with U.S. Soccer since last September when the current U-17 cycle began.
- Haji Wright has been in superb form for the U-17 MNT. The LA Galaxy Academy forward scored eight goals in six games (five starts) during the Americans’ two previous international tournaments this cycle. Strike partner Joe Gallardo has also done well, notching six goals in six appearances (four starts). Both strikers also netted a goal apiece in the first of back-to-back friendlies with the Canada U-17 national team in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last November.
CHICAGO (Jan. 7, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has invited 28 players to the 2014 Spring Semester of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.
Twenty-one players return from the 2013 Fall Semester Residency roster and are joined by new additions in McKenzie Gaines, Eric Matzelevich, AJ Palazzolo, Raheem Taylor-Parkes and Jaret Townsend, as well as U-15 Boys’ National Team midfielder Jose Carranza and goalkeeper Eric Lopez.
In 2015, the U.S. will be participating in the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup for the CONCACAF region.
“We are very excited about the group of players that we brought in this semester,” said Williams. “We feel very confident in this group that will provide
us with 20 players to go on to World Cup qualifying and hopefully through a successful World Cup qualifying campaign to lead us to next year’s World Cup.”
The players in Bradenton represent 22 U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs. FC Dallas Academy, LA Galaxy Academy, Players Development Academy and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri lead the way with two players apiece.
Fifteen players were part of the U-17 MNT that took first place at the recent Nike International Friendlies, including tournament MVP Christian Pulisic, Golden Boot winner Haji Wright and Golden Glove award winner Kevin Silva.
The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academies in Bradenton and train in the morning under the guidance of Williams and his coaching staff. In the
afternoon, the players attend classes at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
While in the full-time Residency Program, the U.S. team not only trains daily, but also has access to the IMG Academies facilities. The team regularly uses the state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as brand new dormitories and meal rooms.
Beginning in 1999, the Residency Program has given players the opportunity to move up the ladder in the world of soccer where many have become professionals in Major League Soccer or with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Players such as Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson have gone on to carve out careers with the full U.S. Men’s National Team. The program in Bradenton provides players with an environment where they can prosper as individual players and come together as a team ahead of regional and world competition.
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy; Westminster, Calif.), Will Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (8): Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Nikkye De Point (Revolution Empire; Rochester, N.Y.), Tanner Dieterich (TN Soccer Club; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), AJ Palazzolo (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallon, Mo.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Jose Carranza (D.C. United Academy; Manassas, Va.), Kyle Gurrieri (NJSA 04; Totowa, N.J.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Weston McKennie (FC Dallas Academy; Little Elm, Texas), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.), Jaret Townsend (Real Colorado; Highlands Park, Colo.), Devin Vega (San Antonio Scorpions; San Antonio, Texas), Brian Zelaya (De Anza Force; San Mateo, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (7): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKenzie Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Eric Matzelevich (Bethesda-Olney; Washington; D.C.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Raheem Taylor-Parkes (Philadelphia Union Academy; Wesley Chapel, Fla.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
ussoccer.com: How long have you been in the U.S. National Team system
Logan Panchot: “In the National Team system, I’ve been in since the first I.D. camp with 81 kids. It was the U-14 age group.”
ussoccer.com: What does it mean to you to be called up to play for the U.S. U-17 National Team?
LP: “It means a lot. It’s definitely a privilege and it’s a humbling experience being here, too.”
ussoccer.com: What is the biggest challenge you face playing at the National Team level?
LP: “Playing with all these guys that are just as good as you, they are all as fast as you – if not faster – and you have to pick up your game just to keep up.”
The USA plays Portugal, England and Brazil this week at the Nike international Friendlies. What excites you the most about playing against those teams
LP: “I think the most exciting part is that the atmosphere is going to be awesome. Everyone on the field is going to be world-class, and I think the challenges we’ll face are going to be good ones that I’m excited for.”
ussoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the draw the USA was handed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil?
LP: “Man, it’s a tough draw! But, I think we can make it. We have to win the first game against Ghana, I think that will be key.”
ussoccer.com: What professional players do you look up to or model your game after?
LP: “In the American team, I like Michael Bradley because he keeps it so simple and always does something sensible with the ball. Foreign, there are a lot of players I like watching, but one that comes to mind because he’s so consistent and has been for so long is Frank Lampard.”
ussoccer.com: What do you enjoy most about playing the beautiful game?
LP: “Fun. That’s the one thing I enjoy the most. It’s just fun being with players who love the game just as much as you and enjoy every second of being on the field.”
ussoccer.com: Any talents or hobbies you have off the pitch?
LP: “Nothing much. I like singing a lot. I sing in the shower, everywhere and listen to music a ton. I like R&B, modern stuff, Usher, stuff like that.”
Date of Birth
Jul 8, 1998
St. Louis, Mo.