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John Nelson

U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team
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U-17 MNT Plays 2014 Nike International Friendlies

ussoccer.com 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.

Thirty Eight Players Called to U-17 MNT Camp

CHICAGO (July 4, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has called 38 players to a training camp that will take place from July 5-12 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California.

The large camp will help Williams and his staff determine the rosters for a pair of upcoming international tournaments set to run from the end of July into August in Denmark and Mexico, respectively. The 2014 Nordic Open Cup Tournament in Kolding, Denmark, runs from July 24-Aug. 3, overlapping the third annual Copa de Mexico in Mexico City, the group stage of which will take place July 30-Aug. 11.

While in camp at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center, the U-17 MNT will train for the first four days before playing a pair of matches on July 9 – the first against Orange County Blue Stars at 10 a.m. PT and the second against Club Tijuana’s U-18 team at 5 p.m. PT. The players will also take in both FIFA World Cup semifinal matches on July 8 and 9 before finishing camp with two more friendly games on July 12; the first against Orange County Blue Stars will be at 10 a.m. PT and the second against the LA Galaxy Academy U-17/18s at 12:30 p.m. PT.

The camp roster includes 22 players currently enrolled in U.S. Soccer’s U-17 Residency program in Bradenton, Florida, and a handful of internationally-based players, including Monterrey FC (Mexico) duo Joe Gallardo and Jonathan Gonzalez, Vitesse (Netherlands) forward Kai Koreniuk, and Fiorentina (Italy) midfielder Josh Perez. The camp is the first with the U-17 program for Perez since December, when he helped the U.S. win the 2013 Nike International Friendlies. Additionally, it represents the first U.S. National Team call-up at any age level for Koreniuk.

Other players receiving their first National Team call-ups include: Francisco Contreras (Bathesda-Olney), Alejandro Lopez (Santa Cruz Breakers) and Miles Stray (Real Salt Lake Academy), while Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic) and Mattias Tomasino (Kendall SC) are making just their second appearance at a YNT event.

The roster is primarily composed of players born in 1998 with the exception of six who were born in 1999. Five of the six ’99-born players are core pieces of the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team, including: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy), Lucas Del Rosario (Capital Area RailHawks Academy), McKay Eves (San Diego Surf), Gonzalez and Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy); the sixth, Edwin Lara (De Anza Force), has been a consistent contributor with the U-17 program throughout the current cycle.

Thirty-one of the 38 players on the roster are registered with U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team NTC Camp Schedule:
Date                Opponent                                            Time (PT)
July 9              vs. Orange County Blue Stars            10 a.m.
                        vs. Club Tijuana U-18s                       5 p.m.
July 12            vs. Orange County Blue Stars            10 a.m.
                        vs. LA Galaxy Academy                    12:30 p.m.

U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (12): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Nikkye De Point (Revolution Empire; Rochester, N.Y.), Tanner Dieterich (TN Soccer Club; Nashville, Tenn.), McKay Eves (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Edwin Lara (De Anza Force; San Leandro, Calif.), 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.), Miles Stray (Real Salt Lake Academy; Point Reyes, Calif.), Mattias Tomasino (Kendall; Miami, Fla.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (12): George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Francisco Contreras (Bethesda-Olney; Fredrick, Md.), Jonathan Gonzalez (Monterrey FC; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Kyle Gurrieri (NJSA 04; Totowa, N.J.), Alejandro Lopez (Santa Cruz Breakers; Watsonville, Calif.), 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.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Brian Zelaya (De Anza Force; San Mateo, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (11): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), Lucas Del Rosario (Capital Area RailHawks Academy - CASL; Durham, N.C.), Ronaldo Escudero (Pateadores; Placentia, Calif.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore), Kai Koreniuk (Vitesse; Ormond Beach, Fla.), Eric Matzelevich (Bethesda-Olney; Washington, D.C.), Josh Perez (ACF Fiorentina; La Habra, Calif.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Devin Vega (San Antonio Scorpions; San Antonio, Texas)


The Road to Residency: U-17 MNT Defender John Nelson

ussoccer.com: On playing in the Continental Cup, an international youth tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, that helped launch his rise to the U.S. U-17 MNT.
John Nelson
: It allowed me to go to Italy to train in the AC Milan camp. That was a good experience that then allowed me to go to South Africa with a team from Miami called Miami Elite. This was in 2010, and I got to go to Argentina to play teams down there.”

ussoccer.com: On being recruited by different elite teams to travel for international competitions.
JN
: “It just felt great! And, I know that if I keep working at it, that will lead me to my goals and one day become a professional soccer player. All [the competition] gets me a step closer and gives me a visual to see what it is to play around the world.”

ussoccer.com
: On the training he took part in while with AC Milan.
JN
: “It was about two weeks; it was different than here in the U.S. but really cool. I was with my family there; they always came to watch me play. The kids there were great because they were kids from all around the world that came in for that camp. The players were more advanced than what I had played against here and the coaching was really good too.”

ussoccer.com
: On what he took away from the experience of training in Italy.
JN
: “I saw how good those kids were, so I knew how good I needed to be. What I took away was that I need to train more. Train more every day and train harder.”

ussoccer.com
: On his time with U.S. Soccer Development Academy club Internationals.
JN
: “I think my time with Internationals was really good; we won a lot of tournaments. It allowed me to play in the Academy system, which played against other great players. I played against some of my teammates from [the U-17 National Team] I’d known from previous national camps in California. It also allowed me to play two years up, so that definitely helped me.”

ussoccer.com
: On his time in the U.S. Soccer Residency Program.
JN
: “I’ve enjoyed playing soccer every day with this team. It’s definitely helped me get better going to school down here. It’s helped me become a better player because you work out Monday, Wednesday, Friday and train every morning. Back at home in the Academy, you’re training three or four days, but here, you’re training every day with a game on Saturdays. You’re playing down here with the best players in the country, so it really pushes you.”

ussoccer.com: On playing against talented attacking teammates such as Haji Wright and Christian Pulisic.
JN: “It’s hard, tiring, and it gets competitive, but I know it makes me a better player. Defending them all the time makes me a better player because they are great players.”

ussoccer.com
: On the team’s upcoming trip to play Academy teams from Seattle and Portland.
JN
: “They’re good academy teams, I know that. We get to travel across the country, which is cool. I haven’t been to that part of the west side, only to California. I actually like watching the Portland Timbers with Darlington Nagbe because he used to play for Internationals. I like watching him a lot, but it’d be a rough game to play against him.”

ussoccer.com
: On any extra work the players do when watching professional matches.
JN
: “The coaches don’t give us homework, but we definitely talk about it after we watch the games. We talk about all the tactical stuff and the player movement.”

ussoccer.com
: On the education component of the Residency Program.
JN
: “I like it. It covers the main classes and courses. It’s not as long as school back home, but I still think the academics are good preparation for college.”

Richie Williams Names 20-Player U-17 MNT Squad for Three-Match Pacific Northwest Tour

CHICAGO (March 6, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named a 20-player squad to take part in a three-match tour of the Pacific Northwest that will run from March 7-18. The trip includes games against the Seattle Sounders FC U-17/18s, the University of Portland Pilots and the Portland Timbers Reserves.

The U.S. U-17 MNT begins its tour in Seattle, where the players will train for two days as well as attend the opening kickoff of the 2014 MLS season when Seattle Sounders FC hosts Sporting Kansas City on March 8. Before departing the Emerald City, the U.S. U-17s will face a Sounders squad, featuring a blend of the club’s U-17/18 Academy players and first team Reserves at Starfire Sports Complex, Field 1 on March 10, at 7 p.m. PT. The match is open to the public and free to attend.

The U.S. U-17s then travel to Portland, Ore., for a game against the Portland Pilots on March 12. The match, which is set to kick off at 7 p.m. PT, will be played at Merlo Field on the university’s campus and is free to the public.

The team will train in Portland through the weekend, including one day at the Nike Campus in Beaverton, before playing its final match on March 17 against a Portland Timbers squad comprised primarily of the club’s first team Reserves and some players from its U-17/18 Development Academy team. Kickoff for the game is set for 10 a.m. PT at Providence Park and is a Timbers season-ticket holder event.

Seventeen of the 20 players on the U.S. U-17 roster are currently enrolled in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Two non-Residency players, Edwin Lara and Nicholas Taitague, who are age eligible for the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team, continue their run of call-ups for Richie Williams’ side, and the only other player not currently in Residency is New York Red Bulls Academy product Tyler Adams, who recently captained the U-15 BNT for two friendlies against the United Arab Emirates during an international training camp in Abu Dhabi in February.

Including Adams, the New York Red Bulls lead the five MLS Academy teams represented with two players on the roster; Matthew Olosunde is New York’s other Academy product on the roster. The other four MLS Academies are Chivas USA (Hugo Arellano), Crew Soccer Academy (George Braima), FC Dallas (Alejandro Zendejas) and the LA Galaxy Academy (Haji Wright).

U.S. U-17 MNT SCHEDULE:
March 10; 7 p.m. PT
– U-17 MNT vs. Seattle Sounders Reserves/U-17/18’s; Starfire Field #1
March 12; 7 p.m. PT
– U-17 MNT vs. University of Portland Pilots; Merlo Field
March 17; 10 a.m. PT
– U-17 MNT vs. Portland Timbers Reserves/U-17/18s; Providence Park

U.S. U-17 MNT ROSTER BY POSITION
:
GOALKEEPERS (2)
: William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7)
: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Tanner Dieterich (TN Soccer Club; Nashville, Tenn.), Edwin Lara (De Anza Force; 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 (6)
: George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Nicholas Taitague (Richmond Strikers; Midlothian, Va.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (5)
: Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Eric Matzelevich (Bethesda-Olney; Washington, D.C.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Williams Calls 20 Players for U.S. U-17 MNT Trip to Turkey

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.)

Additional Notes:

  • 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.
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