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Alejandro Zendejas

U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team
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U-17 MNT Continues Vaclav Jezek Tournament with 1-1 Draw Against Slovenia

SVITAVY, Czech Republic (Aug. 19, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team bounced back in the Vaclav Jezek Tournament with a 1-1 draw against Slovenia.

Alejandro Zendejas scored the opening goal of the game. Haji Wright was the architect and he bent in a perfect cross that Zendejas jumped to head home in the 17ht minute. The U.S. maintained the lead for much of the match, but Slovenia broke through late with an 85th minute stunner that tied the game.

With the draw, the U-17’s group record moves to 0-1-1 in the tournament. The team plays its final group game against Slovakia on Aug. 21.

-U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: United States U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Slovenia
Date: Aug. 19, 2015
Competition: 22nd International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek
Venue: Svitavy; Czech Republic
Kickoff:  9 a.m. ET local (5 pm local)
Weather: 61 degrees

Scoring Summary:     1          2          F                                                         
USA                             1          0          1        
SVN                             0          1          1         

USA                 Alejandro Zendejas (Haji Wright)             17th minute
SVN                 Jan Mlakar                                                  85               

Lineups:
USA: 12-Kevin Silva; 3-John Nelson (4-Hugo Arellano, 46), 15-Auston Trusty, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 13-Reginald Cannon; 16-Tommy McCabe, 18-Eric Calvillo, 10-Christian Pulisic (8-Luca de la Torre, 46); 17-Haji Wright, 19-Joe Gallardo (7-Josh Perez, 62), 20-Alejandro Zendejas
Subs Not Used: 1-Will Pulisic, 5-Daniel Barbir, 2-Alexis Velela; 6-Tyler Adams, 9-Brandon Vazquez, 11-Pierre Da Silva
Head Coach: Richie Williams  

SVN: 1-Rok Vodisek; 2-Sandi Coralic, 3-Sven Sostaric- Karic, 16-Janez Pisek, 17-Matija Rom; 4-Sandi Ogrinec (21-Nejc Pusnik, 67), 18-Rok Buzinel, 10-Dejan Petrovic (19-Luka Kambic, 81); 14-Kristjan Sredojevic (8-Matic Ficko, 53), 9-Jan Mlakar (capt.), 20-Gaber Petric (11-Luka Stor, 67)
Subs Not Used: 7-Jakob Novak,12-Igor Vekic, 13-Tilen Pecnik
Head Coach: Igor Benedejcic

Misconduct Summary:
USA-Hugo Arellano (Caution)                 58th minute
SVN-Nejc Pusnik (Caution)                     67           

Officials:
Head Referee: Brychta Ondrej
Referee 2: Raplik Lukas
Referee 3: Horinek Lukas

Williams Names Roster for U-17 Vaclav Jezek Youth Tournament in Czech Republic

CHICAGO (Aug. 13, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named a 20-player roster that will head to Pardubice, Czech Republic, for the 2015 U-17 International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek, which runs from Aug. 14-22.

The U-17’s begin play on Tuesday, Aug. 18, when they face Russia. The team will play again the following day on Aug. 19 against Slovenia and will conclude group play on Aug. 21 against Slovakia. The opponent for a final placement game, which will be played on Saturday, Aug. 22, will be determined following the conclusion of group play.

The U.S. competed with its U-18 team in this tournament a year ago, and defeated Ukraine 1-0 to take the title.

The trip will serve as part of the U-17’s continued preparation for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, where the team has been grouped with Nigeria, Croatia and Chile. The USA kicks off with the first game of that tournament on Oct. 17.

Nineteen players on the roster have ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2):  William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.),  Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (C.F. Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Richie Williams Names 20-Player Roster For U-17 MNT Camp

CHICAGO (May 2, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named a 20-player roster for the team’s first domestic training camp of 2015 in East Hanover, New Jersey.

The camp will run from May 2-11, and the team will hold practice at New York Red Bulls’ practice facility. This will mark the first time the team gathers in a full time capacity since it competed at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras earlier this year.

The team finished CONCACAF qualifying with a 3-1-2 record to secure a spot in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, following a thrilling 5-4 shootout victory over Jamaica on March 15. The 2015 U-17 World Cup will be held from Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in Chile.

The U.S. has qualified for 15 FIFA U-16 or U-17 World Championships. The 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup was the only occurrence wherein the USA did not qualify for the tournament. The USA’s best performance was a fourth-place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Matt Constant (Dallas Texans; Carrollton, Tex.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis Mo.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.), George Braima (Columbus Crew Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Terrell Lowe (Portland Timbers Academy; Hillsboro, Ore.), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Tex.)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Mckinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Tex.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Roster Notes:

  • In addition to the matches during CONCACAF qualifying, the U-17s have played four international matches in 2015. The U.S. split a two-game set against Panama on Feb. 2 and 4, then showcased a strong offensive display with a 5-2 victory against Bermuda on Friday, Feb. 20, followed by a 4-0 win in a rematch two days later.
  • Fifteen players from this roster were a part of the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship roster
  • Josh Perez scored four goals and tallied an assist for the U.S. in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
  • Goalkeeper William Pulisic started in all six games of that tournament.
  • Perez has scored six goals in 2015, the most of any U-17 MNT player. He also boasts a roster-leading three assists on the year
  • Haji Wright is the most experienced player of the group having earned 34-career caps with the U-17 Men’s National Team
  • Wright was the leading goal scorer for the U-17s last year with 18 goals in 22 matches and was a nominee for the 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year award.
  • Much of this U-17 MNT roster played a big role in the USA’s 17-7-3 international campaign in 2014. Matt Constant, Terrell Lowe, Auston Trusty and Brandon Vazquez joined the team in 2015
  • Fourteen players from this roster were a part of the team that earned a runner-up finish in the 2014 Nike Friendlies.
  • Nineteen of the 20 players have ties to the Development Academy

Photo Gallery: U-17 MNT Celebrates Claiming World Cup Berth

Photos from the U.S. U-17 MNT's dramatic playoff win against Jamaica, 5-4 on penalty kicks, to claim a berth at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile this October. 

Quote Sheet: U-17 MNT Ecstatic about Punching World Cup Ticket

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Quote Sheet
USA 0, JAM 0; USA wins penalty shootout 5-4
March 15, 2015

U-17 MNT head coach RICHIE WILLIAMS

On qualifying for the World Cup after the penalty kick shootout:
"My thoughts are, ‘We qualified for the World Cup.’ That’s what we came here to do. I thought it was a great tournament. I thought we did very well, and I’m extremely proud of our players. They work extremely hard, they’re a good team. We had a couple setbacks, but they didn’t give up. I thought they played extremely well this evening. Obviously we couldn’t get the goal, but they did a great job in the penalty shootout and we’re going to Chile.”

On if it would have been a disaster had the U.S. not qualified for the World Cup:
"It wouldn’t be a disaster. But our goal was to qualify, so we had faith that we were going to qualify. People do not understand how difficult it is. Again, we were close in the Honduras game, and then the last Jamaica game and then this game reached our goal and got into the tournament, the World Cup. Again I’m extremely proud of the team, extremely proud of the whole group – our staff, everybody that has worked incredibly hard over the year-and-a-half with this group of players. We accomplished what we set out to do, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup. We’re just extremely happy.”

On what Jamaica was able to do to hold the USA scoreless for two matches:
“I think in the first game, in the first half we created six clear chances. We just didn’t take our chances. Probably, overall in the game, we had eight to 10 chances and were not able to finalize. And then, when they got their penalty, they sat back and made it very difficult on us. So the first game, we had chances but we couldn’t score. And in the second game, I thought we created chances also. I thought they sat back and tried to catch us on the counter attack. They have some big, athletic defenders and their goalkeeper who made it difficult. Overall they have a good team that fights hard and works extremely hard. They should be very proud of that. They kept us off the scoreboard tonight, but again, we were able to win on the penalties.”

On what it means to get the U.S. team back to the World Cup after an absence last time around:
“We’re extremely excited. Unfortunately, Honduras beat us last time around, and this time we’re able to go. That was our goal, to qualify for the World Cup. Now we go with all intentions to go and try to win the World Cup.”

On the character of the players and how good it feels to see them so happy:
“I love these guys. They’re great players, they’re great people. We’ve worked together now for a year-and-a-half. I’ve coached some of them even when they were at the U-14s and U-15s and I’ve seen them grow as players and as individuals. They’re not just great players, they’re great people also. They work extremely hard and are talented, and they’ve been very, very successful. We want to continue that over the next six months or so until the World Cup. My message to them is that one day we’ll be seeing them on the U-20s and our senior team, and that they have great careers ahead of them.”

U-17 MNT forward JOSH PEREZ

On qualifying for the World Cup:
"It feels great, it’s so exciting. I think we’ve earned this opportunity to go to Chile, and I think we’ll do really, really well in the World Cup. I think we deserved this spot in the World Cup.”

On the game in general and the team’s mindset:
“From the very first minute, we were very confident, feeling that we were going to win the game. Unfortunately, the goals didn’t come; we were just unlucky. But, we got it to PKs and we knew to trust ourselves and have confidence in all of us. We executed and were able to win and qualify for the World Cup.”

U-17 MNT defender JOHN NELSON

On the team’s emotions after qualifying for the World Cup:
“It’s a great feeling; I still can’t believe what we did. Working for these 18 months up to this moment – we did it and we’re going to the World Cup!”

On the difficulties of the match:
“We had a game plan going into the game to try and get the first goal, but that didn’t happen. We were unfortunately not able to score a goal, but we grinded it out and won in PKs.”

On what the last 18 months have been like:
“Our families have made all these sacrifices; everyone has made sacrifices by being away from home. We finally got to be in this moment, and we did it. It just feels great.”

U-17 MNT defender DANNY BARBIR

On qualifying for the World Cup:
“This team has been working so hard for the last year-and-a-half, and honestly I think we deserve it. We’ve done so much, from all the trips and camps, we prepared so good for this tournament. We got the result, we’re going to the World Cup.”

On how it was decided that he was taking a penalty kick:
“I told Richie, ‘I’m going third.’ I was so confident in myself; we were all confident in each other. But, I was a forward my whole life, and I was feeling good and confident. It was an unbelievable feeling to be able to help my team out with that goal.”

U-17 MNT forward JOE GALLARDO

On accomplishing the team’s goal in the tournament:
“We’re just really happy that we were able to qualify for the World Cup.  So thankful to God, and so happy that we worked as a team, and in the end, it all paid off.”

On his thoughts about the game:
“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get a goal in the game, but we were working really hard and never gave up. Thankfully we won in PKs.”

On overcoming the injury and coming back to be part of the team that qualified for the World Cup:
“It’s honestly the best feeling in my life, honestly the best moment.”

U-17 MNT midfielder ALEJANDRO ZENDEJAS

On his thoughts about the game:
“It was a really good game. Jamaica is a really good team, and they made it difficult on us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a goal, but we didn’t stop fighting until the end, so I was happy with our team. And then, we were able to win on PK’s; now we’re going to the World Cup!” 

On the decision about who would take penalty kicks and taking his shot:
“Richie asked us who was confident, and so we raised our hands, and I was one of them. I put the ball down and it took a while to get it settled. When (the referee) blew his whistle, the ball moved. So I stopped and once I saw it wasn’t moving, I shot it. I was kind of off balance but fortunately it went in.”

On how he can maintain his high level of endurance:
“I get it from my brother; he’s the one who pushes me. He’s always been like that, and every time he’d work out he’d always push me to the max.”

U-17 MNT midfielder ERIC CALVILLO

On accomplishing the goal of qualifying for the World Cup:
“We knew we had a great team, a very talented team. Most of us have been together for a long time, so that chemistry really helped. We’ve been preparing for this day – to qualify – for a long time. We wanted to feel this feeling that we’re feeling right now, which is the best feeling in our lives so far. This is what we wanted. This is why we did what we did so that we could qualify for the World Cup.”

U-17 MNT midfielder TYLER ADAMS

On the team’s mentality throughout the match:
“I think we all knew it was going to be a close game after losing to them 1-0 last week. We knew what they were going to do, so we had to adapt our style of play. I think we had the right mentality of just attacking and keeping the ball in their half. The goals didn’t come tonight, but we came to penalties and we had confidence in all of our players and in Will (Pulisic). I think that [belief] had a big impact on how we came out with the win.”

On qualifying for the World Cup:
“There’s no better feeling. I think we became more than friends – we’ve been a family for the past year-and-a-half. We worked so hard for this, all the preparation, and the huge process that everyone’s put into this is unbelievable. I think what we can all take away from this is that we had one job when we came down here, and that was to qualify, and that’s what we did.”

On switching from left back in the last match to holding midfield tonight:
“Richie (Williams) has confidence in me to put me wherever is needed. It gives me a chance to be a versatile player and make an impact, and I’m confident in wherever I play because I practice in the positions a lot.”

U-17 MNT defender ALEXIS VELELA 

On the team’s mindset throughout the match:
“We were just waiting for that goal to come. We did everything from the back to the front to try to get a goal, but it just wouldn’t come. And then going to PKs, we were confident that each one of us was going to do good because we’re good players and we believe in each other.”

On what was going through his mind as he stepped up to take the sixth and final penalty kick:
“There was a lot going through my mind. I was walking up and was like, 'I gotta make this PK.' I wanted to forget about everything and just focus on the PK, and score. And I did. It was such a good feeling."

“And then we got together and we were just confident that Will was going to come up with a big save. When the Jamaican player hit it wide, we just went running up to Will and celebrating because we had made it.”

Under-17s: Zendejas earned four caps and posted an assist in 2013. In 2014, Zendejas scored three goals and dished out three assists in 16 international matches. He scored the winner during the USA’s 2-0 victory against Canada on Oct. 3 and he tallied the opening goal during the U-17 MNT’s 3-1 victory against England on Nov. 28 at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

Club: Zendejas is a product of the FC Dallas Academy. In October of 2014, Zendejas was signed as the club’s 13th homegrown player.

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