"I think the team is very anxious to finally get out there and start the World Championship," Ellinger said. "This team has been preparing for this the last two years, and we are ready to put ourselves to the test. I am confident that the players will perform to the best of their ability, and if that happens I think we can do something special in Trinidad & Tobago."
The United States enters the 2001 World Championship coming on the heels of a fourth-place finish at the 1999 Under-17 World Championship. Two players that will be at the heart of the USA's efforts in the Carribean are Ed Johnson and Santino Quaranta. The duo has put together jaw-dropping numbers on the Under-17 scene, none more impressive than Ed Johnson's 15 goals in his last nine internationals. In his Under-17 career, Johnson has scored 22 goals in 20 internationals. The U.S. is an undefeated 10-0-1 in internationals in which Johnson has scored.
Quaranta is a lethal attacking player who is able to score goals as well as set them up. In seven international matches this year, the Baltimore native leads the U.S. with six assists. In June, Quaranta was the top scorer and named Most Valuable Player at the Theesen International Tournament in Bielefeld, Germany, playing against the youth squads of some of Germany's top clubs, including Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen.
Quaranta and Johnson were both drafted in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft in February, with Quaranta being chosen in the first round by D.C. United (8th overall), and the Dallas Burn selecting Johnson in the second round (19th overall). The two immediately made contributions on the field.
Quaranta, the youngest player to sign an MLS contract, shortly thereafter became the youngest player to score a goal and was named MLS Player of the Week and started and played 90 minutes at the MLS All-Star Game. In 16 appearances with D.C., Quaranta has tallied five goals. Johnson, playing mainly as a sub with Dallas, scored his first professional goal in dramatic fashion, scoring an equalizer five minutes into added time against the New England Revolution on July 4. Johnson has tallied twice in his rookie season for the Burn.
The youngest member of the U.S. team will certainly be one of its more indispensable, as 16-year-old Craig Capano directs the U.S. attack from his spot in the central midfield. Capano has three assists and one goal in 2001 internationals and is one of just five U.S. players to play in 19 of the USA's 20 internationals in the last two years (Quaranta, Ed Johnson, Jordan Harvey and Jordan Stone are the others). This summer, Capano teamed with Under-17 teammate Mike Magee to lead Chicago Sockers F.C. to the U.S. Youth Soccer Under-16 National Championship.
The U.S. defense is often overshadowed by the electrifying offense in front of it, but goalkeeper Adam Schuerman mans one of CONCACAF's top defenses. In the last two years, the U.S. has allowed just 25 goals in 19 internationals, and only twice have conceded more than two goals. Schuerman has been in the nets for 13 of the USA's last fourteen international matches, and has a 9-2-2 record to go along with a 1.23 goals against average.
The USA's solid backline is headed by Chad Marshall, David Chun and captains Gray Griffin and Jordan Harvey. The four have combined for three goals and three assists in 2001 internationals and have a total of 62 international appearances. Griffin and Marshall, two tall central defenders who dominate the air in the middle of the field, have also shown an ability to go forward, as evidenced by Griffin's two goals against Guatemala and Marshall's game-winner against Jamaica in the qualifying opener.
Chun, the only player on the World Championship roster who missed the qualifying tournament, was unable to play in the qualifying tournament after suffering a knee injury weeks before the tournament started. Chun had been one of Ellinger's most reliable players, starting in every international in 2000 and 2001 prior to the injury.
Ellinger has an amazing record since taking over the U.S. Under-17 program in 1998. The former Columbus Crew assistant coach guided the Under-17s to a semifinal spot in the 1999 World Championship, compiling a 26-game unbeaten mark along the way. He assisted on the 2000 Olympic Team that advanced to the semifinals, and has helped the current squad of Under-17s roll to a ten-game winning streak. In his four-year stint at the helm of the Under-17s, Ellinger has compiled a 43-12-12 record in international matches.
The World Championship will wrap up two years of training for many of the Under-17s. Twelve players named to the team for the World Championship begain training together in the full-time Residency Program in January, 2000, following the tremendous success of the first Under-17 full-time residency program. Only forward Erwin Diaz was not a member of the residency program in 2001.
The U.S. advanced to their ninth consecutive Under-17 World Championship (previously Under-16) with three convincing wins at the CONCACAF Group A qualifying tournament in St. Louis, Mo., in April. The USA outscored their opponents 10-3 and were led by Ed Johnson's five goals.
The United States, the only team to qualify for all nine world championships, will play its three group games at Dwight Yorke Stadium just outside of Scarborough, Tobago. The AFC third-place finisher (Japan), UEFA runner-up (France) and CAF champion (Nigeria) will join the CONCACAF Group A champion USA in one of four first-round groups. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals.
|U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Roster|
FIFA Under-17 World Championship
September 13-30, 2001
Trinidad & Tobago
|16||Capano, Craig||M||5'4"||115||07/07/85||Hyde Park, N.Y.||Chicago Sockers F.C.|
|2||Chun, David||D||5'8"||130||03/30/84||Irvine, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|17||Diaz, Erwin||F||5'9"||145||07/11/84||Washington, D.C.||Bethesda United|
|12||Griffin, Gray||D||6'0"||170||01/02/84||Huntersville, N.C.||Charlotte SC|
|8||Harvey, Jordan||D||5'9"||150||01/28/84||Mission Viejo, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|13||Johnson, David||M||5'11"||160||01/16/84||Riverside, Calif.||AGSS|
|10||Johnson, Edward||F||6'0"||170||03/31/84||Palm Coast, Fla.||Dallas Burn (MLS)|
|4||Johnson, Paul||F||5'9"||150||01/22/84||Princeton, N.J.||SSC Dalglish|
|6||Lancos, Chris||D||6'1"||160||07/12/84||Belford, N.J.||Middletown Vipers|
|7||Magee, Mike||F||5'9"||150||09/02/84||Long Grove, Ill.||Chicago Sockers F.C.|
|3||Mapp, Justin||M||5'10"||140||10/18/84||Brandon, Miss.||Jackson FC|
|14||Marshall, Chad||D||6'2"||165||08/22/84||Riverside, Calif.||Arsenal|
|9||Quaranta, Santino||F||5'11"||155||10/14/84||Baltimore, Md.||D.C. United (MLS)|
|18||Schuerman, Adam||GK||5'10"||180||06/04/84||Brookfield, Wis.||Elmbrook United|
|11||Simo, Chefik||M||5'11"||165||02/28/84||Plano, Texas||Solar|
|15||Stone, Jordan||M||5'9"||145||03/16/84||Allen, Texas||Dallas Texans|
|5||Wahl, Tyson||D||6'0"||160||02/23/84||Newport Beach, Calif.||Irvine Strikers|
|1||Williams, Ford||GK||6'2"||165||02/20/84||Raleigh, N.C.||CASL Caps Red|
|Head Coach||John Ellinger||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Assistant Coach||Cameron Rast||San Jose, Calif.|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Peter Mellor||Tampa, Fla.|
|Team Coordinator||Jeff McRaney||Sarasota, Fla.|
|Doctor||Jimmy Gilbert||Silver Spring, Md.|
|Trainer||Brian Goodstein||Sarasota, Fla.|
|Equipment Manager||Beau Abdulla||Bradenton, Fla.|
|Press Officer||Forrest Eber||Chicago|