"The core group of this team has worked hard over the past year and is ready to show the world that they can play," said U.S. Men's Under-17 Head Coach John Ellinger. "This team is explosive, skillful and one of the most talented youth teams that I have coached."
Over the past year, head coach John Ellinger has conducted one of the most extensive training programs in the U-17s preparation for the '99 CONCACAF qualifying tournament. Going into qualification the U-17s have played in 29 international matches posting a 18-7-4 record, had six domestic training camps, traveled more than 150 days, played in eight different countries, became the first U.S. Soccer National Team to defeat Argentina, 4-3, in Buenos Aires, entered a 10-month full-time residency program at the Bollettieri Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and are currently riding an eight game undefeated international streak dating back to Aug. 30 when the USA defeated Germany 4-1 in Bad Waltersdolf, Austria.
Raul Palomares (Inglewood, CA) is the only player named to the 18-man roster that is not in residency at Bollittieri Sports Academy. Palomares joined the squad earlier this week in Bradenton, Fla. as the team wraps up final preparations for the qualifying tournament.
"Palomares has spent the last five or six months in Germany training with FC Kaiserslautern's youth team. His speed of play, skill and vision for the game has improved tremendously and feel that he will contribute to this team," said U.S. Under-17 Head Coach John Ellinger. "Palomares is a versatile player who will be beneficial to this teams development and success on the international level."
Between the posts the U.S. will be lead by Delvin Countess (Sacramento, CA) and Steve Cronin (Sacramento, CA) who have a combined 1.10 goals against average and a 17-6-4 record in 1998-'99. Countess played in 26 international matches and is one of only four players who has participated in every U.S. U-17 camp since the beginning of '98.
Anchoring the defense will be co-captain Nelson Akwari (Houston, TX). Seth Trembly (Littleton, CO), Alexander Yi (Easton, MD), Greg Martin (Plano, TX), Oguchi Onewyu (Olney, MD) and Kellen Kalso (Oxford, MI) will help organize the USA back line.
In midfield the U.S. will showcase some of the brightest young talent in the country. Co-captain Kenneth Cutler (Richmond, VA), Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, MD), DaMarcus Beasley (Fort Wayne, IN), Bryan Jackson (La Canada, CA), , Adolfo Gregorio (Hilmar, CA) and Raul Palomares (Inglewood, CA) will share the responsibility of deploying the U.S. attack and initiating the USA defense.
Leading the U.S. attack will be Jordan Cila (Jericho, NY), Landon Donovan (Redlands, CA), Bobby Convey (Philadelphia, PA) and Raul Rivera (Tulare, CA). Donovan and Cila have scored a combined 31 goals . The U-17s have not lost (9-0-0)when Cila finds the back of the net and are also unbeaten (7-0-0) when Landon Donovan scores two or more goals.
The 1999 CONCACAF U-17 qualifying tournament has been broken down into two groups: Group A (Montego Bay, Jamaica) Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras and USA; Group B(San Salvador, El Salvador) Trinidad & Tobago, El Salvador, Mexico and Canada. The top finisher from each group will qualify for the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand in November. The runners-up in each group will have a home-and-away play-off series for the third CONCACAF berth in the '99 WC.
Last week in San Salvador, Mexico's U-17 National Team clinched a CONCACAF berth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship, going undefeated in qualifying (3-0-0), scoring 13 goals and conceding only two. El Salvador finished as Group B runner-up and now awaits Group A runner-up for the third and last CONCACAF spot in the '99 WC.
The USA will begin qualifying against Costa Rica on Feb. 24, before playing Honduras on Feb. 26 and then concluding with Jamaica on Feb. 28. The U.S. is the only country to have participated in all seven FIFA U-17 World Championships since the first tournament in 1985. The following is a schedule of Group A CONCACAF qualification matches:
|Group A * Montego Bay, Jamaica (Feb. 24-28)|
|Wed., Feb. 24||1:00 p.m.||USA vs. Costa Rica||Jarrett Park|
|3:00 p.m.||Honduras vs. Jamaica||Jarrett Park|
|Fri., Feb. 26||1:00 p.m.||USA vs. Honduras||Jarrett Park|
|3:00 p.m.||Jamaica vs. Costa Rica||Jarrett Park|
|Sun., Feb. 28||1:00 p.m.||Honduras vs. Costa Rica||Jarrett Park|
|3:00 p.m.||USA vs Jamaica||Jarrett Park|
The U-17s are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) on Feb. 19 at 7:00 p.m. in Bradenton, Fla. The team will train on Saturday morning before charting a bus to Fort Lauderdale for the USA-Chile match on Feb. 21. The team is scheduled to make an appearance at halftime of the U.S. Men's match and will depart immediately for Jamaica following the halftime festivities.
The U-17s results and updated schedule during qualification can be accessed by contacting the voice mail of Keir Cochran, U.S. U-17 Press Officer (312/528-1270).
|4||Akwari, Nelson||D||5'11"||175||2/04/82||Houston, TX||Texans / Strake Jesuits College|
|3||Beasley, DaMarcus||M||5'7"||126||5/24/82||Fort Wayne, IN||Citadel S.C. / Bollettieri Sports Acad.|
|15||Beckerman, Kyle||M||5'9"||135||4/23/82||Crofton, MD||Commack United / Arundel HS|
|16||Cila, Jordan||F||5'9"||160||4/11/82||Jericho, NY||Commack United / Jericho HS|
|11||Convey, Bobby||F||5'7"||145||5/27/83||Philadelphia, PA||F.C. Coppa / Penn Charter HS|
|1||Countess, Delvin||GK||6'0"||165||1/09/82||Sacramento, CA||San Juan / Bella Vista HS|
|18||Cronin, Steve||GK||6'0"||150||5/28/83||Sacramento, CA||San Juan / Bella Vista HS|
|7||Cutler, Kenneth||M||5'8"||130||3/08/82||Richmond, VA||Richmond Strikers / D. Freeman HS|
|20||Donovan, Landon||M||5'8"||148||3/04/82||Redlands, CA||Cal Heat / Redlands E. Valley HS|
|9||Gregorio, Adolfo||M||5'8"||160||10/01/82||Hilmar, CA||Turlock Tornados / Hilmar HS|
|5||Jackson, Bryan||M||5'8"||150||4/16/82||La Canada, CA||Claremont Stars / La Canada HS|
|22||Kalso, Kellen||D||5'9"||165||1/16/82||Oxford, MI||Vadar III / Oxford HS|
|6||Martin, Greg||D||5'7"||140||1/05/82||Plano, TX||Dallas Comets / Bollettieri S.A.|
|14||Onyewu, Oguchi||D||6'0"||150||5/13/82||Olney, MD||F.C. Potomac / Sherwood HS|
|19||Palomares, Raul||M||5'10"||145||2/06/83||Inglewood, CA||Santa Monica United / Crossroads HS|
|13||Rivera, Raul||F||5'9"||150||3/07/82||Tulare, CA||Visalia Suns / Bollettieri S.A.|
|17||Trembly, Seth||M||5'6"||140||3/21/82||Littleton, CO||Littleton United / Arapahoe HS|
|8||Yi, Alexander||D||5'11"||160||2/27/82||Easton, MD||Columbia United / Bollettieri S.A.|
|Head Coach:||John Ellinger (Ellicot City, MD)|
|Assistant Coach:||Cameron Rast (San Jose,CA)|
|Goalkeeper Coach:||Peter Mellor (Tampa, FL)|
|Team Doctor:||Steve Smith (Potomac, MD)|
|Team Coordinator:||Jeff McRaney (Bradenton, FL)|
|Trainer:||Brian Goodstein (Bradenton, FL)|
|Press Officer:||Keir Cochran (Chicago, IL)|
|Equipment Manager:||Aaron Barrett (Chicago, IL)|