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U.S. Drawn into Group B With Cuba and Panama at 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

• Tournament Set for Feb. 12-27 at Trelawny Stadium and Catherine Hall Stadium in Montego Bay, Jamaica
• Top Two Teams in Each Group Advance to Quarterfinals; Group B will Cross Over to Play Group A
• Four Semifinalists in 12-team Event Will Qualify for 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico from June 18-July 10

CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2010) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group B of the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which will serve as qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, along with Cuba and Panama.

Groups A and B will play at Trelawny Stadium in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Feb. 14, 16 and 18. The complete match schedule for the event will be announced at a later date.

The 12 teams participating in the CONCACAF event were drawn into four groups of three teams each. The top two finishers in each group will move on to the tournament’s quarterfinals, and the four quarterfinal winners will advance to the World Cup.

Should the U.S. advance through the group phase, they will play one of the top two finishers in Group A, which is made up of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Haiti. Mexico, which is hosting the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, has an automatic berth and will not participate in the CONCACAF tournament.

"We have to recognize that in CONCACAF we have to be prepared to play our game," said U.S. U-17 MNT head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "We need to face those teams with respect, but understand qualification to the World Cup is our responsibility. If we want to qualify, we have to win our matches."

Cuba entered Caribbean qualifying in the second group stage, and finished tied for first in the group along with Trinidad & Tobago. Cuba Bermuda 3-1 behind two goals from Dairon Perez to open their qualifying campaign. After a scoreless draw with T & T, Cuba secured its place in the final round with a 1-0 win against St. Kitts and Nevis, lifted by another goal from Perez.

Panama advanced to the final round by finishing second in its Central American triangular group. A 1-0 win against Guatemala behind an Omar Browne strike was followed by a 1-0 loss to Honduras, but it was enough to put Panama through to Jamaica.

The U.S. received an automatic berth to the final round of qualifying along with Canada.

In 2009 qualifying, the U.S. finished atop the four-team Group A after three straight wins against Cuba, Canada and Honduras in Tijuana, Mexico. After all four CONCACAF teams clinched berths to the World Cup, the semifinals and final were cancelled due to the H1N1 flu outbreak.

At the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, the U.S. finished in second place in its group behind Spain to advance to the Round of 16, where it was knocked out by perennial European power Italy.

The 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup is slated for June 18-July 10 across six cities in Mexico.

The U.S. is the only nation to have qualified for all 13 previous FIFA U-17 World Cups dating back to 1985. The USA’s best finish at the event came in 1999, when a team led by Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley finished fourth.  

Group A
Costa Rica
El Salvador

   Group B

Group C
Trinidad & Tobago

   Group D