CONCACAF U-17 Championship
April 20, 2009
READY TO GO IN TIJUANA: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is settled in Tijuana, Mexico, for the 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, where they will open play against Cuba on Tuesday, April 21 at 4 p.m. PT. The U.S. will play Canada on April 23 and round out Group A play against Honduras on April 25, with both games also slated for 4 p.m. local time. Every U.S. match during the tournament can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. The four semifinalists at the CONCACAF tournament will qualify for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which is slated for Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 15. The U.S. is the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1985.
U.S. CONCACAF Under-17 Championship Schedule
|April 21||Cuba||Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico||4 p.m. / 7 p.m.|
|April 23||Canada||Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico||4 p.m. / 7 p.m.|
|April 25||Honduras||Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico||4 p.m. / 7 p.m.|
|April 29||Semifinals||Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico||TBD|
|May 2||Third-place/Final||Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico||TBD|
MEET THE TEAM: Head coach Wilmer Cabrera named his 20-man roster last week in preparation for the tournament. All 20 players are part of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. Out of the 20 player roster, eight are members of U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs. The state of California contributes the most players with four while Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Washington send two each.
Roster By Position (Club; Hometown)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Earl Edwards (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (7): Zachary Herold (West Pines United FC; Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic AS Monaco; Indianapolis, Ind.), Emilio Orozco (Rampage FC; Oxnard, Calif.), Tyler Polak (Capital Soccer Academy; Lincoln, Neb.), Alex Shinsky (Super Nova FC; York, Pa.), Jared Watts (North Meck SC; Statesville, N.C.), Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride; Westfield, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Andrew Craven (First Coast Kicks; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Marlon Duran (Latino Americana; Duncanville, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores; Garden Grove, Calif.), Sebastian Lleget (Santa Clara SC; South San Francisco, Calif), Carlos Martinez (Wilmington Jr.; San Pedro, Calif.), Nicholas Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC; Battleground, Wash.)
FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Dustin Corea (East Side United FC; Milwaukee, Ore.), Joseph Gyau (FC DELCO; Silver Springs, Md.), Stefan Jerome (West Pines United; FC Davie, Fla.), Jack McInerney (Cobb SC; Alpharetta, Ga.)
- 18 players will dress for Tuesday’s match against Cuba with a maximum of three substitutions.
- Jack McInerney has averaged a goal per game this year with four goals in four games. He has 11 goals in 20 career U-17 international appearances.
- Stefan Jerome leads all U.S. players with 26 international games played.
- Team captain Perry Kitchen and fellow defender Jared Watts are tied for the team lead with eight international appearances in 2009. Kitchen’s 636 minutes are also a team high.
- The U.S. heads into the qualifying tournament with a 4-3-2 international record.
- Since taking the helm of the U-17 Residency Program in the fall of 2007, head coach Wilmer Cabrera has compiled an international record of 12-11-5.
- Should a player earn two cautions during the tournament, he will be forced to serve a one-game suspension. Yellow cards in the tournament carry all the way up to the final. Any players earning a red card in the final match may have to serve their suspension during the first round of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
- Luis Gil is the youngest player on the roster, and turns 16 on Nov. 14. He and Alex Shinsky are the only two players on the roster born in 1993. The 18 other players were born in 1992.
- Carlos Martinez and Andrew Craven are the oldest players on the team, both born on Jan. 21, 1992. Earl Edwards (Jan. 24, 1992) and Marlon Duran (Jan. 25, 1992) are just days younger.
- Speaking of birthdays, Kitchen was born on a Leap Day: Feb. 29, 1992. He has only had five birthdays on his birthdate.
RETURN TO THE OLD FORMAT: The 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will mark the first time since 1996 that a regional champion is crowned. The U.S. has won the championship twice at this level, in 1983 and 1992. When the qualifying tournament was held as two groups in separate venues, the U.S. won its group three times (2001, 2003, 2005).
CUBAN HISTORY: The U.S. has never lost to Cuba in U-17 qualifying, holding a 2-0-2 record. The two teams squared off as recently as 2005, coming away with a 1-1 draw. Before that, the countries had battled at the event three straight times in 1988, 1991 and 1992. In 1988, the U.S. took a 1-0 win, but Cuba went on to win the tournament championship. In 1991, the two teams drew 1-1 and both advanced to that year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup. The following year, the U.S. won 2-0 and advanced to the FIFA event that year.
CARIBBEAN CHAMPS: Cuba advanced to the CONCACAF Championship as the Caribbean champion, going undefeated in the qualifying tournament with a 5-0-1 record. Their potent attack scored 29 goals across six games, while only allowing three.
CONTRASTING QUALIFIERS: While the U.S. is the only team in the world that has qualified for every FIFA U-17 World Cup, Cuba has only qualified for two world championships. In 1989, Cuba hosted the CONCACAF Championships and made sure they kept the advantage, winning the regional event for the first and only time in its history. They also qualified for the U-17 FIFA World Cup two years later in Trinidad & Tobago, qualifying alongside the United States and CONCACAF Champions Mexico.
A LOOK BACK - U-17 MNT QUALIFYING: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team holds the distinction of being the only team in the world to have qualified for every single FIFA U-17 World Cup (previously the FIFA U-16 World Tournament). As current head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his team prepare for the 2009 CONCACAF Championship, which will qualify four regional teams to the 2009 FIFA event, ussoccer.com takes a look back at each team's qualifying campaign to showcase the distinguished history of the U-17 program.
ALREADY IN: While South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying is currently underway, nine teams have already earned their place at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Nigeria qualified as host and will join Algeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Malawi in representing Africa. Asia is the only other region to have completed qualifying with Iran, Japan, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan slated to represent the continent in Nigeria.
ESTADIO CALIENTE IN A NUTSHELL: The recently renovated Estadio Caliente will host all 16 games of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship as both groups will make themselves a home in the 33,000 seat home of Club Tijuana. The club is part of Mexico’s Second Division, but currently sits in first place with hopes to earn a promotion at the end of the Clasura. The stadium sits on grounds that also include a zoo, complete with giraffes, zebras and Bengal tigers, and a casino also named Caliente.
EXPERIENCE FROM COACH CABRERA: U.S. U-17 MNT head coach Wilmer Cabrera has experience at two FIFA World Cups, representing Colombia in 1990 and 1998. He also represented his country in two youth World Cups, appearing in both the 1987 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Soviet Union and the 1985 edition of the same tournament at age 17. In his first two-year cycle with the U.S. U-17s, he has compiled a 12-11-5 international record while leading his young team against some of the world’s best competition such as Argentina, Spain, Chile and Uruguay.
THE RELUCTANT ‘KEEPER: Earl Edwards, goalkeeper for the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team grew up around sports. After moving to San Diego about 10 years ago, Edwards committed himself to soccer, starting as a field player before eventually moving into the goal. Now he's one of the best U.S. goalkeeping prospects in the country and he hopes to help his team qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Learn more about the U.S. netminder by clicking here.
DURAN-DURAN: At 5 feet 4 inches tall, Marlon Duran isn’t necessarily built like the typical defensive midfielder, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t play like one. Nicknamed “Midget” by his teammates on the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, the Duncanville, Texas native hasn’t let his short stature keep him back from accomplishing lofty goals. With his next aspiration to qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Duran sat down with ussoccer.com to answer 11 questions about everything from his nickname, to his role on the team, to what it’s been like growing up alongside his teammates.
BLOGGING AWAY: Keep up with the U-17 MNT during its stay in Tijuana by clicking on the YNT Blog. You’ll find all the latest news, travel stories and hotel happenings of the U.S. on the journey through the CONCACAF Championship by clicking here.
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