CHICAGO (Friday, August 16, 2002) — The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will head to Finland this weekend to face Finland’s Under-17 Men’s National Team in three matches. The teams will play in Helsinki, Finland, on August 22, August 24 and August 26. U.S. head coach John Ellinger is using the trip to help his team get acclimated to Finland, where the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship will be held from August 13-30.
“While we are getting three quality games against a very talented Finland team, we’re also using this as a learning experience for next year’s World Championship,” said U.S. head coach John Ellinger. “With a difficult qualifying campaign ahead of us, playing games on the road like this will help us reach our ultimate goal of getting back to Finland next August.”
The U.S. Under-17s have posted a 7-6-1 record in international matches this year. Most recently, the U.S. split a pair of games with Canada’s Under-17 squad, losing 1-0 on May 22 and then rebounding for a 2-1 win just three days later. The U.S. dominated play in both matches, allowing Canada only two shots in each game, while a busy Canada goalkeeper made five saves in each match.
Guillermo Gonzalez, John DiRaimondo and Corey Ashe have led the team offensively, combining for 15 goals in 14 international matches. One of just three players to play in all 30 matches this year (along with Ashe and Mike Harrington), Gonzalez has totaled 14 goals and seven assists in 2002.
Defensively, Jonathan Spector and co-captain Brandon Owens command a backline that boasts a goals-against-average of less than 1.00 in their last 15 matches. Quentin Westberg and Phil Marfuggi are expected to split time in goal during the trip.
The U.S. Under-17s will begin their travels to Finland from Raleigh, N.C., where the team is currently training. The Under-17s opened their time in North Carolina with a 1-1 draw against the Raleigh Elite (PDL) on August 12. Corey Ashe scored for the U.S., before a second-half Raleigh equalizer provided the final scoreline. The U.S. then topped an older CASL club team 4-1 on August 14, with goals from Harrington, Spector, Gonzalez and an CASL own goal. The Under-17s conclude their stay in North Carolina with a match against N.C. State on August 17 and then depart North Carolina the following day.
The U.S. Under-17s are the only country in the world to qualify for all nine Under-17 World Championships, but John Ellinger and his team will face one of their toughest tasks to advance to the 2003 championship. The Under-17s will travel to Guatemala in March 2003 to play in CONCACAF’s Group A qualifying tournament, where they will face the host nation, the winner from Central America Group A and the winner from the Caribbean playoff between the Group B and Group C champions.
U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team
|Ashe, Corey||F||5'5"||135||03/14/86||Virginia Beach, Va.||Beach FC Impact/Kellam HS|
|Chevannes, Adrian||M||5'11"||175||06/17/86||Ft. Worth, Texas||Club Dallas/Fossil Ridge HS|
|DiRaimondo, John||M||5'6"||140||04/23/86||St Louis, Mo.||Busch SC/St. Louis University HS|
|Gaven, Eddie||M||6'0"||145||10/25/86||Hamilton, N.J.||Hibernians FC/Steinert HS|
|Germani, Chris||D/M||5'6"||140||07/10/86||Yardley, Pa.||FC Delco/Pennsbury HS|
|Gonzalez, Guillermo||M||5'11"||145||01/04/86||Paramount, Calif.||Irvine Strikers/Materdei HS|
|Grazier, Brian||M||5'11"||145||03/17/86||Edwardsville, Ill.||Metro FC/Edwardsville HS|
|Harrington, Michael||F||5'11"||155||01/24/86||Greenville, N.C.||CASL Elite/JH Rose HS|
|Harrison, Drew||D||5'8"||160||02/17/86||Roanoke, Va.||Roanoke Premier/Cave Spring HS|
|Helton, Kyle||D||5'7"||155||05/20/86||Alpharetta, Ga.||Atlanta Fire/Milton HS|
|Marfuggi, Phil||GK||5'11"||165||01/15/86||West Windsor, N.J.||PDA United/West Windsor HS|
|Ogunsola, Tomiwa||D/M||5'7"||145||03/18/86||Woodbridge, Va.||Potomac Cougars/CD Hylton HS|
|Oot, Brandon||D||6'0"||165||04/18/86||Lafayette, N.Y.||Blitz Samba Beat/Manlius Pebble Hill|
|Owens, Brandon||D||5'11"||160||01/23/86||Murrieta, Calif.||La Jolla Nomads/Murrieta Valley HS|
|Peterson, Jacob||F||5'10"||160||01/27/86||Portage, Mich.||Michigan Wolves/Portage Northern|
|Spector, Jonathan||D||6'0"||165||03/01/86||Arlington, Heights, Ill.||Sockers FC/St. Viator HS|
|Szetela, Daniel||M||5'9"||160||06/17/87||Clifton, N.J.||World Class Olympic/Clifton HS|
|Westberg, Quentin||GK||6'0"||165||04/25/86||Saint Cloud||France Institute National de Football|
|Wileman, Chase||D/M||5'6"||140||06/25/86||Dallas, Texas||Solar FC/Grand Prairie HS|
Head Coach: John Ellinger (Bradenton, Fla.)
Assistant/Goalkeeper Coach: Peter Mellor (Longboat Key, Fla.)
Assistant Coach: John Hackworth (Bradenton, Fla.)
Manager: Erik Liekoski (Chicago)
Doctor: Mark Silbey (Walpole, N.H.)
Trainer: Jacob Joachim (Sarasota, Fla.)
Team Coordinator/Equipment: R.J. Noto (Bradenton, Fla.)