US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. Under-17s Travel to Finland for Three Matches

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
Helsinki, Finland
August 18-27, 2002

Ashe, CoreyF5'5"13503/14/86Virginia Beach, Va.Beach FC Impact/Kellam HS
Chevannes, AdrianM5'11"17506/17/86Ft. Worth, TexasClub Dallas/Fossil Ridge HS
DiRaimondo, JohnM5'6"14004/23/86St Louis, Mo.Busch SC/St. Louis University HS
Gaven, EddieM6'0"14510/25/86Hamilton, N.J.Hibernians FC/Steinert HS
Germani, ChrisD/M5'6"14007/10/86Yardley, Pa.FC Delco/Pennsbury HS
Gonzalez, GuillermoM5'11"14501/04/86Paramount, Calif.Irvine Strikers/Materdei HS
Grazier, BrianM5'11"14503/17/86Edwardsville, Ill.Metro FC/Edwardsville HS
Harrington, MichaelF5'11"15501/24/86Greenville, N.C.CASL Elite/JH Rose HS
Harrison, DrewD5'8"16002/17/86Roanoke, Va.Roanoke Premier/Cave Spring HS
Helton, KyleD5'7"15505/20/86Alpharetta, Ga.Atlanta Fire/Milton HS
Marfuggi, PhilGK5'11"16501/15/86West Windsor, N.J.PDA United/West Windsor HS
Ogunsola, TomiwaD/M5'7"14503/18/86Woodbridge, Va.Potomac Cougars/CD Hylton HS
Oot, BrandonD6'0"16504/18/86Lafayette, N.Y.Blitz Samba Beat/Manlius Pebble Hill
Owens, BrandonD5'11"16001/23/86Murrieta, Calif.La Jolla Nomads/Murrieta Valley HS
Peterson, JacobF5'10"16001/27/86Portage, Mich.Michigan Wolves/Portage Northern
Spector, JonathanD6'0"16503/01/86Arlington, Heights, Ill.Sockers FC/St. Viator HS
Szetela, DanielM5'9"16006/17/87Clifton, N.J.World Class Olympic/Clifton HS
Westberg, QuentinGK6'0"16504/25/86Saint CloudFrance Institute National de Football
Wileman, ChaseD/M5'6"14006/25/86Dallas, TexasSolar 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.)