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Wesley Wade

Wesley Wade, U.S. U-17 MNT Looking for Stronger Start at AGS Cup

New York Red Bulls Academy Product Hopes to Improve from 2011 Runner-Up Finish

New York Red Bulls Academy Product Hopes to Improve from 2011 Runner-Up Finish

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team forward Wesley Wade certainly has not forgotten about the team’s fate at the 2011 AGS Cup.

Last year, the USA got off to a slow start with 1-1 draws against Mexico and United Arab Emirates, before posting shutout wins against Russia and a regional team from Valencia. The 2011 event determined its champion squarely based on points, and the USA took second behind Mexico.

Wade, a product of the New York Red Bulls Academy and a member of the 2011-12 U-15/16 Development Academy champion side, is hoping the USA can put together a title-winning performance this time around in Spain.

“I think we were all a bit nervous in that first game,” Wade said of the opening draw against Mexico last year. “This year, it’s a playoff system with two groups and Mexico in the other group. We’re hoping that we have a chance to get to the final and get revenge to make up for that game against Mexico.”

Wade was the Golden Boot winner of last year’s tournament with four goals, scoring twice in the 2-0 win against Russia and two more goals in finale against a regional squad from Spain.

The team kicks off this year’s tournament on Saturday, Sept. 29, against Azerbaijan and looks forward to a meaningful trip away from Residency.

“It’s exciting to get out of Residency and play for your country and against different countries,” Wade said. “It’s fun to get out of here and take all of the things we’ve been working hard at and show it off on the field.”

Wade has had a memorable year-long stretch that included his return to the Red Bulls Academy side along with several Residency teammates to help the U-15/16 team win the crown against St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

“It was really exciting for all of us because it was a big tournament,” Wade said. “The competition was great. Our coach did a good job in bringing everyone [from Residency] back to the team. It was a good transition.”

Wade has certainly enjoyed his time in Residency and with the U-17 MNT, which for the big picture has its sights on qualifying for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup just 13 months away.

“It’s been really good so far with Residency and all of these trips, going to different countries with the U-17 National Team,” Wade said. “Going to Spain and then Argentina [in October] will be good preparation for qualifying, and hopefully when we qualify for the tournament we can reach our main goal to win the World Cup.”