CHICAGO (Friday, February 4, 2005) –Raul Diaz Arce, Brian Maisonneuve and Tim Mulqueen have been named assistant coaches of the United States Under-17 Men’s National Team.
The three join head coach John Hackworth and assistant Keith Fulk as full-time coaches of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The entire staff will train the 40 players in the Residency Program, which was started in 1999 and has become an important piece of U.S. Soccer’s overall player development initiatives.
“We were fortunate enough to have the chance to hire three more high quality individuals and coaches,” said Hackworth. “I feel these three additional coaches provide our new staff with a wealth of playing and coaching experience that will be invaluable in teaching the players in our Residency Program.”
Maisonneuve, a former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, comes to the U-17s a short time after retiring from professional soccer. Nicknamed “Mais” (pronounced Maze), the midfielder became an icon in Columbus where he spent his entire nine-year professional career with the Crew, retiring this year as the last original member of the inaugural 1996 squad. A three-time MLS All-Star, Maisonneuve also made 13 appearances for the MNT (1997-98, 2002), including all three matches in 1998 World Cup in France, and started all three games in the 1996 Olympics, scoring two goals.
A veteran of Major League Soccer and the El Salvador Men’s National Team, Diaz Arce brings a wealth of experience to the Under-17s. Diaz Arce was D.C. United’s number one pick in the inaugural MLS draft in 1996, scored the first ever goal in the club’s history and, during his first two years in with United, helped collect consecutive MLS championships and one U.S. Open Cup title. After stints with four other teams, including a return to United, Diaz Arce finished up his five-year career in MLS in 2001. With over 12,000 minutes played in 150 games, Arce is third in all-time goals scored in MLS with 82 and seventh all-time in regular season points with 193. During his time with El Salvador’s MNT, Diaz Arce scored 16 goals in more than 60 appearances.
Mulqueen comes to the U-17s after almost a decade of coaching experience in MLS, spending the last five years as an assistant/goalkeeping coach with the Kansas City Wizards and four years before that with the MetroStars. He was also part of the U.S. Under-23 MNT’s staff during the 2004 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Mexico. During his coaching career, Mulqueen has worked with some on the country’s best goalkeepers, including Tony Meola and Tim Howard.
Over the past four years, U.S. Soccer has been able to increase the number of players enrolled in the Residency Program from 20 to 40 to provide greater opportunities for young players. The increase has allowed for the creation of two teams competing under the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team moniker: the U-17 ’88s and the U-17 ’89s, representing the birth year of a majority of the players from the senior and junior class in the Residency Program.
With the increase in players, the number of coaches has increased as well to accommodate the two squads, with Hackworth managing the staff for each individual match or trip.
“There is a huge benefit in having five coaches now that we have two teams under the same U-17 umbrella,” said Hackworth. “It allows there to always be at least two coaches with one of the teams as there will be times when one team is traveling and the other team is still training in Bradenton. This will provide the players with a high level of instruction at every session and give us more eyes to see players across the country.”
With the players from the last two-year cycle graduating this past May, the U-17 ’88 MNT (Team A) is the senior team in the Residency Program as the entire 40-player Residency now consists entirely of players eligible for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship (born in 1988 or later).
The U.S. U-17s have two months remaining until qualifying, where the team will attempt to continue its streak as the only country to qualify and play in every FIFA World Championships at this age level. The team is in Group B of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica from April 12-16. The U.S. will face El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba. A final schedule of matches has not yet been determined.
While not striving for a world championship, the younger U-17 ’89 MNT (Team B) will also be competing in international tournaments at home and across the globe as U.S. Soccer continues to try and increase development opportunities for players. The younger players also have the opportunity to work their way onto the roster for the qualifying tournament or the world championship as the positions with the older team are always open, creating a daily competitive atmosphere in Residency.