CHICAGO (Aug. 16, 2005) — U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program will kick off its fall semester on Monday, Aug. 22, as all 40 players will arrive at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The players will conduct their first training session the following day on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
In all, 24 players are returning to the residency program, while 16 players will be beginning their first semester under the instruction of head coach John Hackworth. The majority of the returning players will be vying for a spot on the U.S. roster for the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, which will take place in Peru from Sept. 16-Oct. 2.
The U.S. opens the FIFA U-17 World Championship against North Korea (Korea DPR) on Sept. 17 at 12:45 p.m. CT, before facing Italy on Sept. 20 (3:30 p.m. CT) and concludes group play on September 23 (3:30 p.m. CT) against Italy. The U.S. will play their first two group matches against North Korea and Italy at Elias Aguirre Stadium in Chiclayo, before moving to Lima to face Ivory Coast at Nacional Stadium in their third and final group match. Every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship can be followed live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Phillips Electronics.
"This is an interesting fall semester since we retain our oldest players as they prepare for the World Championship next month, while at the same time begin to assemble the new crop of players that will be beginning the first stages of the residency program,” said Hackworth, who became head coach of the U-17 MNT in November of 2004. “Obviously, our main objective is to advance as far as possible in the World Championship, but after the tournament the staff's concentration will shift to developing the younger players at the highest level."
Started in 1999, the U.S. Soccer full-time residency program has become an important piece of the overall player development picture. Over the past six years, the Federation has doubled the number of players enrolled in the program as it continues to increase its investment in player development and provide greater opportunities for young players, expanding to 40 players two years ago.
The 40 U.S. players attend classes at nearby Edison Academy and then return to the IMG campus in the afternoon to train daily under the guidance of Hackworth, and assistant coaches Keith Fulk, Raul Diaz Arce, Tim Mulqueen and Brian Maisonneuve. With 40 players in residency, the program is able to field two full teams that train together during the week, and get the chance to compete against college and club teams on the weekends.
"In the past five years the residency program has given our players an excellent opportunity to grow and move up the ladder in the world of soccer and become professionals in Major League Soccer, some of the biggest clubs in Europe and even make an impact on the full U.S. Men's National Team,” said Hackworth. “We will look to continue this progress here in Bradenton by providing the players with an environment where they can prosper as individual players and gel as a team, crucial elements that have allowed for a positive move forward for all of our men's national team programs."
The majority of the 24 returning players were born in 1988 and most will be attending the residency program for their last semester, as they will graduate in December. Half will be beginning their fifth semester, having joined the residency program in the fall of 2003, while three are in their fourth semester, seven in their third and two in their second.
A few players that are not returning to the residency program will still be considered for the FIFA U-17 World Championship. Of note is midfielder Nikolas Besagno who will continue to train with the U-17s through the World Championship before joining Real Salt Lake, which drafted him first overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft last January.
The majority of the 16 newcomers to the residency program were born in 1990 and will be beginning the two-year cycle towards the next FIFA U-17 World Championship in 2007, which will take place in South Korea.
Since its inception, 145 players have been through the full-time Residency Program, and more than 30 of those players have moved on to Major League Soccer, or the professional leagues in Europe. Seven players have also registered at least one cap with the full MNT: DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey, Ed Johnson, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector. Beasley and Donovan both started in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as 20-year-olds.
“The residency program gives our elite players the opportunity to train in a professional environment and to develop in a way they would not otherwise be able to develop,” said U.S. Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena. “I think that in the future you will continue to see the positive results of this program on the soccer field.”
In its first year of existence, the U.S. Soccer residency program enrolled 20 of the elite players in the country to train together in Bradenton and produced instant success as the Under-17s qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in New Zealand in November of 1999. On the world stage, the American teenagers rose to the occasion, winning their group and advancing to the semifinals before being ousted in a penalty shootout. The fourth-place finish tied for the best showing by a U.S. Youth National Team in a major international competition. Also, U.S. stars Donovan and Beasley were awarded the Gold and Silver Balls, respectively, as the top two players in the entire tournament.
Two years later, the U.S. struggled when they were placed in what would later be known as the “Group of Death” with Japan, France and Nigeria, the latter two ending up in the championship match. The U.S. fell in all three games, despite giving eventual champions France one of their best tests of the tournament scoring three times in a 5-3 loss.
In August of 2003, the U.S. put together another impressive run at the U-17 World Championship. With four goals, including a hat-trick in their opening match against South Korea, 14-year-old Freddy Adu led the U-17s to victories in their first two games in Finland by a combined score of 8-2, which catapulted them into the quarterfinals and a fifth place finish.
U.S. Soccer Residency Program - Fall 2005 Roster
National Team Staff
Head Coach: John Hackworth Bradenton, Fla.
Assistant Coach: Keith Fulk Bradenton, Fla.
Assist/Goalkeeper Coach: Tim Mulqueen Bradenton, Fla.
Assistant Coach: Raul Dibsp; Tampa, Fla.
Assistant Coach: Brian Maisonneuve Bradenton, Fla.
Team Coordinator: Alex Miranda Bradenton, Fla.
Team Coordinator: Thomas Norton Bradenton, Fla.
Equipment Coordinator: Tim Ryder Bradenton, Fla.
Trainer: Michael White St. Petersburg, Fla.
Trainer: Paul Rushing St. Petersburg, Fla.
Press Officer: Neil Buethe Chicago, Ill.
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