CHICAGO (April 16, 2009) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera has named 20 players who will represent the United States at the 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from April 21-May 2 in Tijuana, Mexico. The four semifinalists at the tournament will qualify for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which is slated for Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 15.
“We have been working for a year and a half on this roster,” said Cabrera, who is leading the U.S. through qualifying for the first time since joining the program in the fall of 2007. “At this point, the players have really decided for themselves who is going based on their performance. It’s difficult with 40 players and we had some tough decisions to make, but we did what we felt was best for the team.”
All 20 players on the roster are currently part of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program, training daily under Cabrera and his assistant coaches at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. is the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1985.
The U.S. will open its regional campaign against Cuba on April 21 at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) at Estadio Caliente. The U.S. will play Canada on April 23 and round out Group A play against Honduras on April 25, with both games also slated for 4 p.m. local time. Every U.S. match during the tournament can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The top two finishers in Group A advance to the semifinals of the tournament and earn half of CONCACAF’s four berths to Nigeria. They will also cross over to play one of the top two teams from Group B, which is made up of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The semifinals will be played on April 29, with the final and third place match played on May 2.
Earl Edwards, who has started seven of the team’s nine international games this year, will likely man the U.S. net, with Spencer Richey serving as a more than capable back up. Edwards has a 4-3 record on the year against some of the top teams in the world, including Spain and Argentina, and has appeared in 19 international matches in his U-17 career. Richey has only allowed one goal in his two starts in 2009.
The goalkeepers will help to solidify a defense that includes captain Perry Kitchen, who, along with Jared Watts, has gained valuable experience this year with eight international caps. Zach Herold and Tyler Polak have each made six starts, rotating in with Alex Shinksy, who is among the team leaders with 15 career caps at the U-17 level. Emilio Orozco and Eriq Zavaleta, who has recently been manning the center of the back line with Watts, round out the defensive corps.
In the midfield, Marlon Duran has been the stalwart, with the Texas native scoring twice on direct free kicks this year in seven starts. Carlos Martinez, who made his mark in his first two international games by scoring a goal against Russia and Brazil at the 2007 Nike Friendlies, leads the midfield contingent with 21 international appearances. Sebastian Lletget is the newest member of the Residency Program, having joined the team in Bradenton less than six weeks ago. He will likely step into a midfield position vacated by Charles Renken, who will miss the tournament with a knee injury. Rounding out the midfielders are Georgia native Andrew Craven, Washington Premier FC’s Nick Palodichuk and Luis Gil, who along with Shinsky is one of only two players born in 1993 on the roster.
The U.S. attack will be fueled by Jack McInerney, who has scored four goals in four games this year and 11 goals in 20 career U-17 internationals. His goal scoring prowess will be supplemented by Stefan Jerome, who leads the team with three assists in 2009. Joseph Gyau, who enters qualifying as the most experienced forward with 24 caps, and Juan Agudelo, who has earned three starts already this year round out the selection of forwards along with Dustin Corea, whose recent form earned his place on the roster.
Of the 20 player roster, eight are members of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Clubs. The State of California contributes the most players with four while Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Washington State send two each.
The 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will mark the first time since 1996 that a regional champion is crowned. The U.S. has won the championship twice at this level, in 1983 and 1992. When the qualifying tournament was held as two groups in separate venues, the U.S. won its group three times (2001, 2003, 2005).
The U.S. is the only country to have qualified for all 12 FIFA Under-17 World Championships. In 2007, the American squad advanced to the knock out phase for the third straight time before falling to Germany in the Round of 16.
U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Roster
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
April 21 - May 2, 2009
|1||Edwards, Earl||GK||6-3||200||01/24/92||San Diego, Calif.||La Jolla Nomads SC|
|2||Zavaleta, Eriq||D||6-1||180||08/02/92||Westfield, Ind.||FC Pride|
|3||Polak, Tyler||D||5-9||150||05/13/92||Lincoln, Neb.||Capital Soccer Academy|
|4||Kitchen, Perry||D||6-0||155||02/29/92||Indianapolis, Ind.||Chicago Magic AS Monaco|
|5||Duran, Marlon||M||5-5||150||01/25/92||Duncanville, Texas||Latino Americana|
|6||Watts, Jared||D||6-2||155||02/03/92||Statesville, N.C.||North Meck SC|
|7||Jerome, Stefan||F||6-0||170||08/11/92||Davie, Fla.||West Pines United FC|
|8||Shinsky, Alex||D||5-10||150||04/02/93||York, Pa.||Super Nova FC|
|9||McInerney, Jack||F||5-10||160||08/05/92||Alpharetta, Ga.||Cobb SC|
|10||Gil, Luis||M||5-10||155||11/14/93||Garden Grove, Calif.||Pateadores|
|11||Corea, Dustin||M||5-9||155||03/21/92||Milwaukee, Ore.||East Side United FC|
|12||Orozco, Emilio||D||6-0||155||04/29/92||Oxnard, Calif.||Rampage FC|
|13||Gyau, Joseph||F||5-8||155||09/16/92||Silver Spring, Md.||FC DELCO|
|14||Herold, Zachary||D||6-1||160||06/07/92||Port St. Lucie, Fla.||West Pines United FC|
|15||Martinez, Carlos||M||5-10||160||01/21/92||San Pedro, Calif.||Wilmington Jr.|
|16||Palodichuk, Nicholas||M||6-0||175||09/15/92||Battleground, Wash.||Washington Premier FC|
|17||Agudelo, Juan||F||6-1||180||11/23/92||Barneget, N.J.||New York Red Bulls Academy|
|18||Richey, Spencer||GK||6-1||170||05/30/92||Seattle, Wash.||Crossfire Premier|
|19||Craven, Andrew||M||5-10||155||01/21/92||St. Simons Island, Ga.||First Coast Kicks|
|20||Lletget, Sebastian||M||5-8||155||09/03/92||South San Francisco, Calif.||Santa Clara SC|
Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Earl Edwards (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (7): Zachary Herold (West Pines United FC; Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic AS Monaco; Indianapolis, Ind.), Emilio Orozco (Rampage FC; Oxnard, Calif.), Tyler Polak (Capital Soccer Academy; Lincoln, Neb.), Alex Shinsky (Super Nova FC; York, Pa.), Jared Watts (North Meck SC; Statesville, N.C.), Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride; Westfield, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Andrew Craven ( First Coast Kicks; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Bryan Duran (Latino Americana; Duncanville, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores; Garden Grove, Calif.), Sebastian Lletget (Santa Clara SC; South San Francisco, Calif), Carlos Martinez (Wilmington Jr.; San Pedro, Calif.), Nicholas Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC; Battleground, Wash.)
FORWARDS (5): John Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Dustin Corea (East Side United FC; Milwaukee, Ore.), Joseph Gyau (FC DELCO; Silver Springs, Md.), Stefan Jerome (West Pines United; FC Davie, Fla.), Jack McInerney (Cobb SC; Alpharetta, Ga.)
National Team Staff
Head of Delegation: Jim Moorhouse (Playa del Rey, Calif.)
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Paul Caffrey (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Gerson Echeverry (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: Paul Grafer (Bradenton, Fla.)
Program Manager: Tim Ryder (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.)
Equipment Coordinator: Jason Peters (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Athletic Trainer: Paul Rushing (Palmetto, Fla.)
Massage Therapist: Jessica Smith (Flint, Mich.)
Team Doctor: Jeffrey Mjaanes (Highland Park, Ill.)
Team Doctor: Mark Silbey (Walpole, N.H.)
Security: Jerry Rawlins (San Diego, Calif.)
Photographer: John Dorton (Bradenton, Fla.)
Videographer: Ryan Firth (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
Press Officer: Kate McMaster (Chicago, Ill.)