Former U-17 Assistant Takes Over Reigns of U.S. Soccer Residency Program
CHICAGO (Nov. 15, 2004) – John Hackworth has been named the new head coach of the United States Under-17 Men’s National Team. Hackworth takes over the U.S. U-17s after two-and-a-half years as the team’s assistant coach.
Hackworth joined the U.S. Soccer Federation early in 2002, moving from his head coaching spot at the University of South Florida. As an assistant coach with the U.S. Under-17s, Hackworth was an integral part of the team’s success at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, where the team finished in fifth place, tying its second-best finish ever in the tournament.
“After spending two-and-a-half years with U.S. Soccer as an assistant coach, I’m extremely pleased to take over the head coaching duties for the Under-17 Men’s National Team,” said Hackworth. “I’m looking forward to continuing the success of the Residency Program and having the chance to continue the growth of U.S. Soccer.”
Hackworth will preside over U.S. Soccer’s full-time Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., which has become an important piece of the overall player development picture. Started in 1999, the program provides elite players in the country with the opportunity to train on a daily basis and develops their skills at the highest level of competition, as they attend school in the morning and practice in the afternoon. Over the past few years, the program has increased to 40 players to provide greater opportunities for young players in the United States.
“This position is a key role in our player development initiatives,” said U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. “In addition to leading the team on the field in international competition, this is a day-to-day position with 40 elite players living and training in our full-time Residency Program. John Hackworth has shown in his time in Bradenton that he understands what is required in this role and during the interview process he emerged as the clear choice as the right man to lead the program.”
Hackworth takes over the Under-17s as they begin their final preparations for competition at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament from April 12-16, 2005, in Costa Rica, as they attempt to qualify for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, which will be held in Peru. The U.S. will attempt to continue its streak of being the only nation to qualify for each FIFA Under-17 World Championship, a total of 10, one every two years since 1985.
The U.S. will travel to Costa Rica to play in Group A of the final stage of the CONCACAF U-17 qualification along with the host, the Caribbean Zone Series 1 winner (Trinidad & Tobago or Cuba) and the Central American Zone Series 1 winner (Guatemala, Nicaragua or El Salvador). In Group B, Canada will host with Mexico, Caribbean Zone Series 2 winner (Jamaica or Haiti) and Central American Zone Series 2 winner (Honduras, Belize or Panama). The group winners will qualify for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru, while the runners-up will compete in a home-and-away playoff, with the winner earning the third and final CONCACAF berth.
Hackworth joined U.S. Soccer after four seasons at the University of South Florida (1998-2002), where he elevated the small Florida school into the nation’s elite. In Hackworth’s first season at the helm of the program in 1998, the Bulls won the Conference USA Regular Season and Tournament Championships, earning him Coach of the Year honors. Hackworth led South Florida to their best season ever in 2001, as the team climbed to No. 8 in the rankings, won a school-best 15 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. While at South Florida Hackworth also chaired the Conference USA Head Coaches Committee and served on the Division I Men’s Soccer Player Development/Pro Liaison Committee.