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U-17 MNT Arrives in Jamaica to Prep for CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament


U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes
Kingston, Jamaica
April 27, 2007


WELCOME TO JAMAICA, MAN: All 20 players and staff members of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, on Thursday evening in preparation for the five-team Group B CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament. The trip was a full-day of travel for the team as the players loaded the team bus at 10 a.m. at their home base of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., before watching an entire season of “Entourage” and chomping on subs for lunch during the three-hour trip to Fort Lauderdale. At the airport the team unloaded their gear, checked in, grabbed a bit more grub in the small meal court and finally boarded their Air Jamaica plane for a two-hour flight to Kingston.

OPENING DAY BYE: The qualifying tournament kicks off this Saturday, April 28, but the U.S. will have three days in Kingston to prepare for their opening match as they have a bye on the first of five doubleheader matchdays. After getting a chance to watch their upcoming opponents face-off on Saturday night at the National Stadium, where all 10 matches will be played, the U.S. will need to make sure they are buttoned-up for what will no doubt be a taxing four games in seven days. The U.S. opens the tournament against Trinidad & Tobago on Monday, April 30, playing the second match of the doubleheader at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The U.S. will then face Canada on May 2 at 5 p.m. CT, Jamaica on May 4 at 7 p.m. CT and finish against Costa Rica on May 6 at 5 p.m. CT. The top three teams will advance to the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will take place in South Korea from Aug. 18 to Sept. 9.

CONCACAF Group B Final Round Qualifying
Kingston, Jamaica
Saturday, April 28
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica
Jamaica vs. Canada

Monday, April 30
Costa Rica vs. Canada
USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago

Wednesday, May 2
USA vs. Canada
Jamaica vs. Costa Rica

Friday, May 4
Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago
USA vs. Jamaica

Sunday, May 6
USA vs. Costa Rica
Jamaica vs. Trinidad & Tobago

ROSTER OF 20: U.S. Under-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth selected the majority of his 20-man roster from the 40 available players in U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program based in Bradenton, Fla. Defender Tommy Meyer, who was formerly in Residency for two semesters, was the only player selected not currently with the U-17s on a full-time basis in Bradenton. All of the players were born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, with five making the roster from the younger 1991 age group.
U-17 MNT Roster-by-Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.);
DEFENDERS (5): Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Tommy Meyer (St. Louis, Mo.), Howard Turk (Fairfax, Va.), Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.);
MIDFIELDERS (9): Alex Dixon (Humble, Texas), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.), Greg Garza (Grapevine, Texas), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas, Texas), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Nick Millington (Raleigh, N.C.), Jesse Paredes (Los Angeles, Calif.), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.);
FORWARDS (4): Abdusalam Ibrahim (Richfield, Minn.), Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.), Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.), Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.)

BLOG-RIFFIC: We’re in Jamaica. You’re not. Which means you’ll never know what’s going on behind the scenes with the team. Well, you wouldn’t if it wasn’t for this fantastic, well-written, witty, creative, all-encompassing, anytime of the day, ussoccer.com BLOG! If you want to have all the intel on the U-17s while they look to book a spot in the 2007 World Cup, be sure to check out this exclusive blog.

HACK TALKS QUALIFYING: The U-17 qualifying tournament is something John Hackworth is no stranger to as he’s been involved in the past three. Hackworth was an assistant when the U.S. won the 2003 qualifying tournament in Guatemala and then took over the reigns and kept the U.S. as top dog in the 2005 tournament in Costa Rica. Once again, Hackworth is looking to guide his players to another World Cup and hopefully the top spot in the group. How does he plan to do it? Well, he told us just that in this exclusive ussoccer.com podcast (listen).

TRAINING DAY ONE: The U.S. will have its first training session in Jamaica on Friday afternoon, and it will be their one pre-tournament practice in the stadium. Each team gets to practice in the stadium once before the start of qualifying, which means the other four teams will also train in the stadium on Friday, or did so Thursday (April 26). After breakfast the team got a bit of the cobwebs out with a short walk and stretch, before having the rest of the morning and early afternoon to relax.

GOING FOR THE AN EVEN DOZEN: The U.S. will be looking to secure their 12th straight berth to the U-17 FIFA World Cup and continue their streak as the only country to qualify for every World Cup at this age level. While the U.S. has participated in every U-17 World Cup, its four opponents in qualifying have only earned a total of 10 berths since 1983. Costa Rica leads the way with five, while Canada has played in three World Cups, but none since 1995. Jamaica only qualified for one in 1999. Trinidad & Tobago has never qualified for a World Cup, but played in one when they hosted in 2001.
All-Time U-17 World Cup Berths:
Country No. of World Cups
USA 11
Costa Rica 5
Canada 3
Jamaica 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1

SECOND-PLACE JAMAICA?: Not only has the U.S. qualified for every FIFA World Cup, the U.S. has won their group at the last three CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournaments (2001, 2003 and 2005) since it became a two-group event. The only year they didn’t win their group? That would be 1999, when the qualifying tournament was held in Jamaica and the U.S. finished in second place behind the hosts. Before the final round tournament became two groups in 1999, the U.S. only won the final round twice in 1983 and 1992.

A MESSAGE FROM MEXICO: Any overconfidence that could have swelled in the minds of the U.S. players as they neared qualifying was probably tempered by the shocking turn of events that occurred during the Group A CONCACAF U-17 Final Round. Mexico, the reigning FIFA U-17 World Cup champion, stumbled not once, not twice, but three times to finish in third place and miss out on the chance to defend their crown. Mexico drew, 2-2, against El Salvador in their opening match and then didn’t score another goal in scoreless draws with Haiti and Honduras to finish with just three points. Haiti ended up winning the group, while Honduras took second to give both countries their first-ever berth to a U-17 FIFA World Cup.

SUNTAN LOTION, RAINCOATS ON HAND: Jamaica is hot. Jamaica is humid. And supposedly, Jamaica is rainy. Since arriving on Thursday, there has been nothing but sunshine and smiles, but there are also heard nasty rumors that there will be rolling thunderstorms that will bounce in and out throughout the day. Not looking forward to that, but the equipment manager has the raincoats on standby, and for now the team is just enjoying the temps in the high 80s.

KEEPING TABS ON THEIR TEAMMATES: While the U-17s here in Jamaica are preparing for qualifying, they also have been keeping tabs on their teammates that are in Northern Ireland competing in the Ballymena International Tournament. The U.S. fell, 2-1, to the Republic of Ireland after a 1-1 draw against Scotland and a come-from-behind, 3-2, victory over the Czech Republic. The U.S. will play for third place and the Larne Plate against Israel on Friday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I say this all the time. This is the very first time these kids are going through (U-17 qualifying), so it is not a streak for these young men. It might be a streak for our country and we do take pride in that…but this will be the first for this group of ’90 and ’91 players.”
-- U.S. Under-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth on whether the streak as the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup is something he and the players think about. To hear more, listen to Hackworth’s exclusive ussoccer.com podcast.

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