U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Enters Full-Time Residency Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
CHICAGO (Thursday, January 10, 2002) — With the success and landmark achievements of the first two Under-17 Men's National Teams still being written into the U.S. Soccer record book, a third U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team has entered U.S. Soccer's Full-Time Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Twenty Under-17s moved away from family and friends to enroll in private school and train daily under the guidance of U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger and longtime assistant Peter Mellor, who doubles as the goalkeeper coach.
The 20 U.S. players have been placed in a professional setting where they attend classes at nearby Bradenton Academy and then return to the IMG Academy for training in the afternoon. On the weekends the team usually participates in a mixture of games and training sessions.
Started in 1999, the U.S. Soccer full-time residency program has become a symbol of U.S. Soccer's dedication to the development and the success of the Youth National Teams. In three years of the full-time residency program, the two teams in residency have posted a combined 27-8-9 record in international matches.
"The Under-17 residency program has become one of the most important elements in our player development initiatives over the past three years," said U.S Soccer Secretary General Dan Flynn. "The program has been an excellent blue-print for player development and the challenge now will be to continue to extend its reach at the U-17 level, as well as other age levels for both men and women."
Nine members of the 2002 U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team entered full-time residency in September 2001, enrolling at Bradenton Academy for the fall semester and spending the fall with Ellinger and the previous group of U.S. Under-17s. The extra time in training paid dividends, as the youngsters posted an 8-2-2 record in their first 12 games as an Under-17 team, despite playing older competition. Twelve-year old Freddy Adu has paced the U.S. attack, tallying six times. Guillermo Gonzalez and Michael Harrington have each scored four goals, with Eddie Gaven and co-captain Corey Ashe adding three goals apiece.
The newest group of Under-17s is already looking ahead to the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship that will be held in Finland in the summer of 2003. When the U.S. heads into qualification for the '03 World Championship, they will attempt to continue the USA's streak as the only nation to qualify for each FIFA Under-17 World Championship (formerly Under-16 World Championship).
"The residency program has given some of our elite players the opportunity to train in a professional environment and to develop in a way they would not otherwise be able to develop," Ellinger said. "I think that the results of the past three years show just how valuable the program is."
The first full-time U.S. Soccer Residency Program began on Janaury 17, 1999 with an Under-17 Men's National Team that was on its way to becoming one of the most successful teams in U.S. Soccer history. At the World Championship in New Zealand, the American teenagers rose to the occasion, winning their group and advancing to the semifinals before being ousted in a penalty shootout.
Their fourth-place finish tied for the best showing by a U.S. Youth National Team in a FIFA World Championship. On top of that, U.S. stars Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley were awarded the Gold and Silver Balls, respectively, as the top two players in the entire tournament.
After finishing up the 1990s as U.S. Soccer's most successful coach in the Men's National Team program (a 30-8-9 record and a .723 win percentage), Ellinger started 2000 with a new team entering the residency program. On the heels of the first U.S. Soccer full-time residency program's smashing success, U.S. Soccer started its second Under-17 full-time residency program in January of 2000 in preparation for the 2001 Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Twelve of the 18 players that started residency in January 2000 were on the World Championship team in Trinidad & Tobago in September 2001.
The 2000-01 U.S. Under-17s were the first team to spend two years in the Full-Time Residency Program, and the squad played a U.S. Soccer record 98 matches from January '00 to September '01. During the team's two years in the program, it ran off a Men’s National Team program record 10-game international winning streak that started on June 9, 2000, with a 3-1 win over Germany and ran until a 0-0 draw with Australia on Sept. 6, 2001. Two members of the team – Santino Quaranta and Eddie Johnson – had successful debuts in MLS, and more teammates are expected to join them in the pro ranks in 2002.
While in the full-time residency program, the U.S. not only trains daily under Ellinger and Mellor, but also has access to the IMG Academy's facilities. The team regularly uses IMG's state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as some of the nation's best sports psychologists that work at the Academy. The IMG Academy includes top-of-the-line soccer equipment, three Bermuda grass fields, an indoor dome with artificial turf, two swimming pools, newly renovated student housing and dining facilities.
The following players began each year in the U.S. Soccer Residency Program:
1999 Under-17 Residency Roster (20 players): Nelson Akwari*, DaMarcus Beasley*, Kyle Beckerman*, Danny Bolin, Filippo Chillemi, Jordan Cila*, Bobby Convey*, D.J. Countess*, Steve Cronin*, Kenny Cutler*, Landon Donovan*, Adolfo Gregorio*, Bryan Jackson*, Kellen Kalso*, Greg Martin*, Oguchi Onyewu*, Raul Rivera, Matt Roberts, Seth Trembly*, Alexander Yi*.
2000 Under-17 Residency Roster (18 players): Craig Capano*, David Chun*, Daniel Fiore, Gray Griffin*, Jordan Harvey*, Edward Johnson*, Paul Johnson*, Chris Lancos*, Justin Mapp*, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta*, Zachary Riffett, Marco Rodriguez, Mario Rodriguez, Adam Schuerman*, Chefik Simo*, Jordan Stone*, Josh Villalobos.
2001 Under-17 Residency Roster (20 players): Craig Capano*, David Chun*, Hunter Freeman, Gray Griffin*, Jordan Harvey*, David Johnson*, Ed Johnson*, Paul Johnson*, Chris Lancos*, Justin Mapp*, Chad Marshall*, Mike Magee*, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta*, Adam Schuerman*, Chefik Simo*, Jordan Stone*, Josh Villalobos, Tyson Wahl*, Ford Williams*.
*-FIFA Under-17 World Championship team member
|Ashe, Corey||F||5'5"||135||03/14/86||Virginia Beach, Va.||Beach FC Impact|
|Adu, Freddy||F||5'8"||140||06/02/89||Potomac, Md.||Bethesda International|
|Colaluca, Nicholas||M||5'7"||140||05/23/86||Coventry, R.I.||Bayside United|
|DiRaimondo, John||M||5'6"||140||04/23/86||St. Louis, Mo.||Busch SC|
|Gaven, Eddie||M||6'0"||145||10/25/86||Hamilton, N.J.||Hibernians FC|
|Gomez, Jose||M||5'8"||150||01/02/86||Inglewood, Calif.||SMU Autobahn|
|Gonzalez, Guillermo||M||5'11"||145||01/04/86||Pamaount, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|Grazier, Brian||M||5'11"||145||03/17/86||Edwardsville, Ill.||Metro FC|
|Hahn, Adam||GK||5'10"||140||01/05/86||Irvine, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|Harrington, Mike||F||5'11"||155||01/24/86||Greenville, N.C.||CASL Elite|
|Harrison, Drew||D||5'8"||160||02/17/86||Roanoke, Va.||Roanoke Star Premier|
|Helton, Kyle||D||5'7"||155||05/20/86||Alpharetta, Ga.||IAYMCA Eagles|
|Lewis, Cameron||D||6'0"||155||01/02/86||Alpharetta, Ga.||IAYMCA Eagles|
|Marfuggi, Phil||GK||5'11"||165||01/15/86||West Windsor, N.J.||PDA United|
|McDonald, Brandon||F||6'0"||175||01/16/86||Phoenix, Az.||Sereno|
|Ogunsola, Olatomiwa||D||5'7"||145||03/18/86||Woodbridge, Va.||Potomac Cougars|
|Owens, Brandon||D||5'11"||160||01/23/86||Murrieta, Calif.||La Jolla Nomads|
|Spector, Jonathan||F||6'0"||165||03/01/86||Arlington Heights, Ill.||Sockers FC|
|Vogl, Eric||D||5'8"||140||03/12/86||Fayetteville, Ga.||AFC Lightning|
|Wileman, Chase||D||5'6"||140||06/25/86||Grand Prairie, Tex.||Solar FC|
Under-17 Men’s National Team Staff
Head Coach: John Ellinger (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Cameron Rast (San Jose, Calif.)
Assistant/Goalkeeper Coach: Peter Mellor (Palm Harbor, Fla.)
Team Coordinator: Jeff McRaney (Sarasota, Fla.)
Trainer: Jacob Joachim (Chicago)
Press Officer: Forrest Eber (Chicago)