US SoccerUS Soccer

28 Teams to Take Part in 2nd Annual U.S. Soccer/Nike Friendlies


CHICAGO (Tuesday, November 12, 2002) — The U.S. Soccer Federation and Nike are teaming up to host the second annual U.S. Soccer / Nike Friendlies from Dec. 6 – Dec. 9 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.  After a successful tournament in 2001, the number of teams in the 2002 invitational swelled from 19 teams in two age groups last year to 28 teams in three age groups this year.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will split into two teams – an older team made up primarily of players born in 1986 and a younger team made up primarily of players born in 1987 – with the older team competing in the Under-18 age group and the younger team in the Under-17 bracket.

In addition to the two U.S. Under-17 squads, Finland’s U-17 Men’s National Team will compete in the Friendlies, as will 25 other teams representing 10 different states.  In all, 50 games will be played over the four-day event.

“This event will showcase some of the best young players in the United States,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger.  “Nike and U.S. Soccer have worked hard to put together a tournament that will benefit all of the teams involved, as well as the coaches who come in for the symposium.  We had a very successful event here last year, but I look forward to putting together four days of soccer that will improve on last year’s event.”

U.S. head coach and Director of Youth Development John Ellinger will host a three day coaching symposium in conjunction with the Friendlies.  The symposium will run from Dec. 6-8, and includes two presentations each night.  In addition to Ellinger and other members of the U.S. National Team coaching staff, two coaches from Finland’s youth national team technical staff will also speak at the symposium.  More information on the coaching symposium is expected to be announced soon.

The teams in the 2002 U.S. Soccer / Nike Friendlies represent some of the finest youth clubs in the U.S., and the participating clubs combined to send 11 teams to the 2002 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship.

The 13 teams competing in the Under-18 Age Group are: the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, an IMG Academy Team, FC Delco, Colorado Rush, Syracuse Blitz, Blackwatch SC (Florida), Richmond Strikers, Houston Texans, Finland Under-17 MNT, Bethesda Alliance, Sockers FC, Temple Terrace and Nike Northeast Select.

The Under-17 Age Group is comprised of the U.S. Under-17 MNT, an IMG Academy Team, FC Delco, Colorado Rush, Dallas Texans, Richmond Strikers, Atlanta Fire, Houston Texans, Blackwatch SC (New York), Bethesda Cannons and Blackwatch SC (Fla).

IMG’s Under-16 Academy Team, FC Delco, Temple Terrace and Blackwatch SC (Fla.) make up the four team Under-16 group.

Under-18 Clubs
IMG Academy
U.S. Under-17 MNT
Bethesda Allliance
Richmond Strikers
Colorado Rush
Houston Texans
Blackwatch SC (Fla.)
Syracuse Blitz
Finland Under-17 MNT
Temple Terrace
FC Delco
Nike Northeast Select (Nike NE Select is an all-star team made up of players from various clubs in Region I.)
Sockers FC

Under-17 Clubs
U.S. Under-17 MNT
IMG Academy
Bethesda Cannons
Richmond Strikers
Colorado Rush
Houston Texans
Blackwatch SC (NY)
Dallas Texans
Atlanta Fire  Blackwatch SC (Fla.)
FC Delco

Under-16 Clubs
IMG Academy
FC Delco
Temple Terrace
Blackwatch SC (Fla.)

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