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U.S. Under-17 MNT to Kick Off Exhibition Tour Against Development Academy Clubs this Weekend at The HDC in Carson, Calif.

CHICAGO (September 11, 2008) – As the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team prepares for 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup qualifiers in the spring, they will play nine exhibition games against U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs throughout the 2008-09 season. The exhibition schedule begins on Saturday, Sept. 13, when the team travels from Bradenton, Fla. to Carson, Calif. to take on Chivas USA.

This weekend’s games, which are set for Saturday evening at 4 p.m. PT for the U-15/16s and 6 p.m. PT for the U-17-18s under the lights at The Home Depot Center’s Mooch Myernick Field, will mark the start of the second Development Academy season for Chivas USA. The inaugural season began in similar fashion, as the U-17/18 Chivas USA team took on the U.S. U-17 ‘91s at last summer’s Fall Showcase. In front of nearly 1,000 spectators, the U.S. team went on to win, 3-0.

“We didn’t want to limit ourselves to just playing against one conference,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “We want to play with the teams from all over the country and to travel all over the country to compete and play in different scenarios, in different cities. These games are definitely going to help us prepare for qualifying because we are playing on the road, so we’ll have the pressure of playing away, which is a good environment.”

As part of the Academy’s initiatives to build upon the successful foundation that was built during its inaugural year in 2007-08, clubs that demonstrated excellence both on and off the field will have the opportunity to test themselves against the U.S. Under-17 MNT. Nine clubs, selected by National Team coaches and Development Academy technical staff, will host the team throughout the season.

U.S. Under-17 MNT Exhibition Tour Schedule
Date *       Opponent
Sept. 13   Chivas USA
Sept. 20   NOMADS
Oct. 4        Sockers FC
Oct. 11     Richmond Strikers
Nov. 1      Miami FC Kendall
Nov. 15    CASL
Nov. 29    LAFC
May 2       Chicago Fire
May 16     New York Red Bulls
*Subject to change

“These games will be good for all of us,” said Cabrera. “Last season, the games and the results counted for teams we played against in the Academy, so it was a bit of an imbalance. In an exhibition game, the clubs can play with their best players and be more relaxed when they play us. They can take more risks and try to show us their best performance, which also means there will be good opportunities to scout players from these teams who might have the chance to play for the National Teams.”

The exhibition matches, along with several international training camps and games, will be used to prepare the U-17s as they attempt to qualify for their 14th consecutive FIFA Under-17 World Cup in April or May, when the qualifying tournament will be held in Mexico. Dates and venues for that tournament will be announced at a later date. The U.S. is the only country to have qualified for every edition of the tournament since its inception in 1985.

The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and train in the morning under the guidance of Cabrera and assistant coaches Paul Caffrey, Paul Grafer and Keith Fulk, who was hired before the start of the semester as the team’s third assistant. In the afternoon, the players attend classes at nearby Bradenton Preparatory Academy. While in the full-time residency program, the U.S. not only trains daily under Cabrera, but also has access to the IMG Academy’s spacious facilities.

Last Weekend’s Results:

South Conference U-17/18
Miami FC Kendall 0, Atlanta Fire 0
Miami FC Kendall 2, Birmingham United 1
Atlanta Fire 3, Schulz Academy 1
Schulz Academy 2, Birmingham United 1

South Conference U-15/16
Miami FC Kendall 2, Atlanta Fire 2
Schulz Academy 2, Birmingham United 0
Schulz Academy 0, Atlanta Fire 0
Miami FC Kendall 1, Birmingham United 1

Under-15/16 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, Sept. 13
Kickoff           Match-up Venue

12 p.m. ET     Bridge FA vs. Richmond Strikers             Charleston Southern University
2 p.m. ET       Miami FC Kendall vs. AFC Lightning       Tropical Park
3 p.m. ET       Virginia Rush vs. Bridge FA Hampton    Roads Soccer Council
6 p.m. PT       U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Chivas USA        The Home Depot Center

Sunday, Sept. 14
Kickoff Match-up Venue
9 a.m. ET          Schulz Academy vs. AFC Lightning         Central Broward Regional Park
3:30 p.m. CT   Andromeda SC vs. Solar SC                     Andromeda Training Facility

Under-17/18 Upcoming Matches:

Saturday, Sept. 13
Kickoff        Match-up                                                            Venue

2 p.m. ET    Bridge FA vs. Richmond Strikers                   Charleston Southern University
4 p.m. ET    Miami FC Kendall vs. AFC Lightning             Tropical Park
5 p.m. ET    Virginia Rush vs. Bridge FA                            Hampton Roads Soccer Council
6 p.m. PT    U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Chivas USA             The Home Depot Center

Sunday, Sept. 14
Kickoff Match-up Venue
11 a.m. ET       Schulz Academy vs. AFC Lightning        Central Broward Regional Park
3:30 p.m. CT   Andromeda SC vs. Solar SC                   Andromeda Training Facility