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U.S. U-17s Begin Dallas Cup on Sunday

THE VITALS: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team takes on CD Guadalajara today at 3:30 p.m. CT at Lake Highlands Stadium in the opening game of the Dallas Cup XXIV. Two teams comprised primarily of players from the U.S. Soccer Residency Program are competing in the Dallas Cup XXIV. The Under-17 Men’s National Team, which recently qualified for a record 10th consecutive FIFA World Championship, consists of mainly players born in 1986, and is competing in the U-19 Super Group. The Under-16 Men’s National Team has players mainly born in 1987, and is competing in the U-17 Group.

CHANGE OF OPPONENTS: All three teams scheduled to play the U.S. Under-17 in Bracket A of the U-19 Super Group were unable to make the tournament, forcing tournament officials to find three new teams to face the U.S. The Cameroon Jr. National Team, RS Futebol Clube (of Brazil) and Promesas 2006 (of El Salvador) all were unable to arrive in Dallas for the tournament. Cameroon and RS Futebol Clube were unable to obtain visas for their players in time, making it unable for the team to travel into the United States. According to tournament officials, Promesas 2006 was also unable to make the trip, but an exact reason was not given by the team. The U.S. Under-17’s will now face Municipal Perez Zeledon (of Costa Rica), CD Guadalajara (of Mexico) and CS Azzurri Blue (of Canada). All three of the teams were originally in the regular U-19 Group, but were moved up into the Super Group with the U.S. to fill out the bracket. Times and locations for the games have not changed. “We’re disappointed that we won’t get to play against a great African nation such as Cameroon, but we are still concentrating on the task ahead of us,” head coach John Ellinger said. “CD Guadalajara is a quality team, which will be at least par, if not a notch above Cameroon, and will definitely test us in our first game.”

U.S. Under-17 Schedule

Date         Opponent                                               Location                                      Time
April 13    CD Guadalajara (Mexico)                       Lake Highlands Stadium             3:30 p.m. CT
April 14    CS Azzurri Blue (Canada)                       Richland College – Field # 3      4 p.m. CT
April 16    Municipal Perez Zeledon (Costa Rica)  Richland College – Field # 3     12 p.m. CT

U.S. Under-16 Schedule

Date         Opponent                                 Location                                            Time
April 14    Dallas Texans Red                    Univ. of Texas-Dallas – Field # 4     6 p.m. CT
April 15    Palo Alto Gold Crew (Calif.)     Richland College – Field #  1           12 p.m. CT
April 16    Yahara United Premier (Wis.)  Richland College – Field #1              2 p.m. CT

FIRST PRACTICE AT SMU: The U.S. Under-17 and Under-16 Men’s National Teams finished a long day of traveling from Bradenton, Fla., with a productive training session at Westcott Field on the Southern Methodist University campus just before dark. Both teams went through a technical workout, concentrating on passing and quick decision-making in a tight area during the session, which lasted a little over about an hour and 15 minutes.

GOOD TO BE HOME: Being in Dallas is a special time for Jamie Watson, Chase Wileman and Adrian Chevannes, who are all from the Dallas area. All three are looking forward to seeing friends and family, and possibly eating some home cooking. “You miss your mom’s cooking a lot after you’ve been eating in a cafeteria with 300 kids everyday at IMG Acamdemy,” Watson said. All three players have already gotten the chance to see their parents and are excited their families and friends will get to see them play for the red, white and blue. Wileman said he’s hoping he can find the back of the net because he’s already got a little celebration in mind. “It’s a little dance,” he said, without giving up too much more information.

NEW FACES: Five new faces will be playing with the U-16 Men’s National Team while they compete in the Dallas Cup this week. Greg Folk, Adam Sloustcher, Anthony Beltran, Dax McCarty and Jay Singh were all called in and will all lace up their cleats for the younger squad.

TEAMS TAKE IN BURN VS. GALAXY: Before the U.S. Under-17 and Under-16 Men’s National Teams’ first practice at SMU, the players traveled to Dragon Stadium in the suburb of Southlake for the Dallas Burn’s opening game against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Most of the players followed the crowd and cheered for the home team, especially Wileman, who considers himself a big Burn fan. The players were given a reason to celebrate early as Burn midfielder Ronnie O’Brien blasted home a pass from teammate Jason Kreis in the 4th minute. A jubilant Wileman rose to his feet and cheered as his teammates gave him high-fives. Throughout the game the players, dressed in a gray U.S. Soccer polo and khaki shorts or pants, were approached numerous times by fans who wished them good luck in the Dallas Cup.

GONZALEZ GETS PRIME VIEW: While most of the players cheered for the Burn, they also kept a close eye on teammate Guillermo Gonzalez, who was sitting on the bench with the Galaxy. Gonzalez, picked by the Galaxy in the first round of the MLS draft this past January, got his first real feel of an MLS game by putting on the Galaxy uniform and sitting with Alejando Moreno and Mauricio Cienfuegos during the game. Gonzalez called his first experience on the field with the Galaxy “awesome” and said he’s looking forward to contributing to the team after the U-17 World Championship in August. The rest of the U-17 MNT were excited for him as well, jumping out of their seats and yelling toward Gonzalez, nicknamed Memo, as he walked back on the field for the second half.