CHICAGO (Monday, January 6, 2003) — The fifth year of U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Residency Program kicks off today, as 30 players return from their winter break to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., less than two months before the Under-17s are scheduled to kick off CONCACAF qualifying in Guatemala on March 5.
Started in 1999, the U.S. Soccer full-time residency program has become a symbol of U.S. Soccer’s dedication to producing development opportunities for players and the success of the Youth National Teams. U.S. Soccer added an additional 10 spaces to the residency program last fall, upping the total to 30 players in residency. In the four years since the implementation of the Under-17 Full-Time Residency Program, the Under-17s have compiled an unprecedented 118-52-41 record, including a fourth-place finish at the 1999 U-17 World Championship.
In the residency program, the U.S. players are placed in a setting where they attend classes at nearby Edison Learning Center and then return to the IMG campus to train daily under the guidance of U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger, assistant coach John Hackworth and goalkeeper coach Peter Mellor. On the weekends the team usually participates in a mixture of games and training sessions.
“With the qualifying tournament just around the corner, we know we have to work hard for the next two months to prepare for what will be a difficult trip to Guatemala,” said Ellinger. “The residency program has put us in a position where we are able to work with our players in an environment that fosters tremendous player growth. I think we saw in the World Cup with Landon (Donovan) and DaMarcus (Beasley) that this program is already helping to produce world-class players.”
The U.S. Under-17s shattered several U.S. Soccer records in 2002, setting new marks for wins in a year (40), games played (66) and shutouts (25). The Under-17s posted a 40-15-11 record in 2002, scoring more than twice as many goals as their opponents (153 goals for, 74 goals against). The team closed out the year with only two losses in their final 25 matches, losing a pair of 1-0 games in the final week of December.
In the Under-17s final three international tournaments of 2002 – the Montaigu Tournament in Montaigu, France; the Ballymena International Tournament in Ballymena, N. Ireland; and the FISF International Soccer Tournament in Gaeta, Italy – the U.S. team won its group and advanced to the semifinals. The U.S. finished the Montaigu in fourth place, and advanced to the finals of their last two tournaments, only to lose in the championship game.
Eight of the 30 players are beginning their fourth semester in the full-time program, while seven others are kicking off their third semester. The bulk of the players (13) are starting their second semester in the full-time residency program. Two players (Rodrigo Hidalgo and Robbie Rogers) are both beginning their first semester today. Both Rogers and Hidalgo played with the Under-17s in 2002, Hidalgo scoring two goals in two appearances for the team and Rogers making nine appearances – earning three caps – and adding one goal.
Among those returning for a fourth semester in the program are co-captain and central defender Brandon Owens, and the attacking trio of Eddie Gaven (12 goals, 8 assists in 48 games), Guillermo Gonzalez (26 goals, 11 assists in 56 games) and co-captain Corey Ashe (14 goals, 11 assists in 49 games). Freddy Adu finished 2002 second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 11 assists in 35 games and will be beginning his third semester in the program.
“The residency program gives our elite players the opportunity to train in a professional environment and to develop in a way they would not otherwise be able to develop,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena. “I think that increasing the size of the program is extremely important, and it allows us to look at more players over a wider range of ages. In the future you will continue to see the positive results of this program on the soccer field.”
Twelve players that have gone through the residency have moved onto Major League Soccer, and DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan used the residency program as a springboard to the U.S. Men’s National Team and eventually the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Donovan and Beasley were members of the first team to take part in the residency program, spending 1999 in Bradenton, Fla., before the 1999 U-17 World Championship in New Zealand.
The 2000-01 U.S. Under-17s were the first team to spend two years in the Full-Time Residency Program, and the squad played a U.S. Soccer record 98 matches from January ’00 to September ‘01. Two members of the team – Santino Quaranta and Eddie Johnson – had successful debuts in MLS in 2001, and three of their U-17 teammates (Justin Mapp, Jordan Stone and Craig Capano) joined them in MLS in 2002.
The current group of Under-17s is looking toward the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship that will be held in Finland in the summer of 2003. When the U.S. heads to Guatemala for qualifying in March, the team will attempt to continue the streak of being the only nation to qualify for each FIFA Under-17 World Championship.
While in the full-time residency program, the U.S. not only trains daily under Ellinger, Hackworth and Mellor, but also has access to the IMG Academy’s spacious facilities. The team regularly uses IMG’s state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as some of the nation’s best sports psychologists that work at the Academy. The IMG Academy includes top-of-the-line soccer equipment, three new Bermuda grass fields, an indoor dome with artificial turf, two swimming pools, newly renovated student housing and dining facilities.
A semester-by-semester listing of the players involved with U.S. Soccer’s Full-Time Residency Program:
Spring 1999 (20 players): Nelson Akwari*, DaMarcus Beasley*, Kyle Beckerman*, Danny Bolin, Filippo Chillemi, Jordan Cila*, Bobby Convey*, D.J. Countess*, Steve Cronin*, Kenny Cutler*, Landon Donovan*, Adolfo Gregorio*, Bryan Jackson*, Kellen Kalso*, Greg Martin*, Oguchi Onyewu*, Raul Rivera, Matt Roberts, Seth Trembly*, Alexander Yi*
Fall 1999 (20 players): Nelson Akwari*, DaMarcus Beasley*, Kyle Beckerman*, Jordan Cila*, Bobby Convey*, D.J. Countess*, Steve Cronin*, Kenny Cutler*, Justin Detter, Landon Donovan*, Adolfo Gregorio*, Bryan Jackson*, Kellen Kalso*, Greg Martin*, Oguchi Onyewu*, Seth Trembly*, Peter Withers, Alexander Yi*
Spring 2000 (18 players): Craig Capano*, David Chun*, Daniel Fiore, Gray Griffin*, Jordan Harvey*, Ed Johnson*, Paul Johnson*, Chris Lancos*, Justin Mapp*, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta*, Zachary Riffett, Marco Rodriguez, Mario Rodriguez, Adam Schuerman*, Chefik Simo*, Jordan Stone*, Josh Villalobos
Fall 2000 (18 players): Craig Capano*, David Chun*, Hunter Freeman, Gray Griffin*, Jordan Harvey*, David Johnson*, Ed Johnson*, Paul Johnson*, Chris Lancos*, Mike Magee, Justin Mapp*, Chad Marshall*, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta*, Adam Schuerman*, Chefik Simo*, Jordan Stone*, Josh Villalobos, Tyson Wahl*, Ford Williams*
Spring 2001 (20 players): Craig Capano*, David Chun*, Hunter Freeman, Gray Griffin*, Jordan Harvey*, David Johnson*, Ed Johnson*, Paul Johnson*, Chris Lancos*, Justin Mapp*, Chad Marshall*, Mike Magee*, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta*, Adam Schuerman*, Chefik Simo*, Jordan Stone*, Josh Villalobos, Tyson Wahl*, Ford Williams*
Fall 2001 (18 players): Phil Marfuggi, Guillermo Gonzalez, Justin Mapp*, Eddie Gaven, Michael Harrington, Chris Lancos*, Mike Magee*, John DiRaimondo, Corey Ashe, Tomiwa Ogunsola, Gray Griffin*, Eric Vogl, Brandon Owens, Jordan Stone*, Craig Capano*, Josh Villalobos, Adam Schuerman*, Erik Forbes
Spring ’02 (20 players): Phil Marfuggi, Adam Hahn, Drew Harrison, Kyle Helton, Cameron Lewis, Tomiwa Ogunsola, Brandon Owens, Eric Vogl, Nicolas Colaluca, John DiRaimondo, Eddie Gaven, Jose Gomez, Guillermo Gonzalez, Brian Grazier, Jonathan Spector, Chase Wileman, Corey Ashe, Freddy Adu, Michael Harrington, Brandon McDonald.
Fall ’02 (30 players): Phil Marfuggi, Marcus Rein, Stephen Sandbo, Jonathan Spector, Brandon Owens, Drew Harrison, Eric Vogl, Kyle Helton, Brandon Oot, Adrian Chevannes, Tomiwa Ogunsola, Chase Wileman, Chris Germani, Daniel Szetela, Brian Grazier, John DiRaimondo, Jose Gomez, Christian Jimenez, Eddie Gaven, Guillermo Gonzalez, Steve Curfman, Tim Ward, Michael Bradley, Brian Mascarenhas, Julian Valentin, Michael Harrington, Freddy Adu, Corey Ashe, Jacob Peterson, Jamie Watson
Spring ’03 (30 players): Phil Marfuggi, Marcus Rein, Stephen Sandbo, Jonathan Spector, Brandon Owens, Drew Harrison, Kyle Helton, Adrian Chevannes, Tomiwa Ogunsola, Chase Wileman, Chris Germani, Daniel Szetela, Brian Grazier, John DiRaimondo, Jose Gomez, Rodrigo Hidalgo, Christian Jimenez, Eddie Gaven, Guillermo Gonzalez, Steve Curfman, Tim Ward, Michael Bradley, Brian Mascarenhas, Julian Valentin, Michael Harrington, Freddy Adu, Corey Ashe, Jacob Peterson, Robbie Rogers, Jamie Watson
*-FIFA Under-17 World Championship team member
|Adu, Freddy||F||5'8"||140||06/02/89||Potomac, Md.||Bethesda International|
|Ashe, Corey||F||5'5"||135||03/14/86||Virginia Beach, Va.||Beach FC Impact|
|Bradley, Michael||M||5'8"||130||07/31/87||Palatine, Ill.||Chicago Sockers|
|Chevannes, Adrian||D||5'11"||175||06/17/86||Ft. Worth, Texas||Club Dallas|
|Curfman, Steven||M||5'11"||155||10/08/86||Raleigh, N.C.||CASL Elite|
|DiRaimondo, John||M||5'6"||140||04/23/86||St Louis, Mo.||Busch SC|
|Gaven, Eddie||F||6'0"||145||10/25/86||Hamilton, N.J.||Hibernians FC|
|Germani, Chris||D/M||5'6"||140||07/10/86||Yardley, Pa.||FC Delco|
|Gomez, Jose||M||5'8"||150||01/02/86||Inglewood, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|Gonzalez, Guillermo||M||5'11"||145||01/04/86||Paramount, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|Grazier, Brian||M||5'11"||145||03/17/86||Edwardsville, Ill.||Metro FC|
|Harrington, Michael||F||5'11"||155||01/24/86||Greenville, N.C.||CASL Elite|
|Harrison, Drew||D||5'8"||160||02/17/86||Roanoke, Va.||Roanoke Premier|
|Helton, Kyle||D||5'7"||155||05/20/86||Alpharetta, Ga.||Atlanta Fire|
|Hidalgo, Rodrigo||M||5'11"||160||08/21/87||Atlantis, Fla.||Weston SC|
|Jimenez, Christian||M||5'9"||150||11/03/86||San Dimas, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|Marfuggi, Phil||GK||5'11"||165||01/15/86||West Windsor, N.J.||PDA United|
|Mascarenhas, Brian||M||5'9"||150||03/04/87||Marietta, Ga.||Concorde|
|Ogunsola, Tomiwa||D/M||5'7"||145||03/18/86||Woodbridge, Va.||Potomac Cougars|
|Owens, Brandon||D||5'11"||160||01/23/86||Murrieta, Calif.||La Jolla Nomads|
|Peterson, Jacob||F||5'10"||160||01/27/86||Portage, Mich.||Michigan Wolves|
|Rein, Marcus||GK||6'1"||185||01/27/87||Modesto, Calif.||Ajax United|
|Rogers, Robbie||F||5'6"||130||05/12/87||Rolling Hills Estate, Calif.||PVSC Raiders|
|Sandbo, Stephen||GK||6'1"||175||02/23/87||Columbus, Ohio||Ohio Thunder|
|Spector, Jonathan||D||6'0"||165||03/01/86||Arlington, Heights, Ill.||Sockers FC|
|Szetela, Daniel||M||5'9"||160||06/17/87||Clifton, N.J.||World Class Olympic|
|Valentin, Julian||M||5'10"||155||02/23/87||Lancaster, Pa.||Leeds United|
|Ward, Tim||M||5'11"||150||02/28/87||Waukesha, Wisc.||Parkland SC|
|Watson, Jamie||F||5'8"||145||04/10/86||Coppell, Texas||Dallas Comets|
|Wileman, Chase||D/M||5'6"||140||06/25/86||Dallas, Texas||Solar FC|
Under-17 Men’s National Team Staff
Head Coach: John Ellinger (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: John Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant/Goalkeeper Coach: Peter Mellor (Longboat Key, Fla.)
Manager: Jeff McRaney (Palmetto, Fla.)
Trainer: Jacob Joachim (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Team Coordinator/Equipment Manager: R.J. Noto (St. Petersburg, Fla.)