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U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Heads to South Korea for 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team
2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup
Atlanta, Ga.
August 13, 2007

ON TO KOREA: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will arrive in South Korea on Tuesday, Aug. 14 to begin their final week of preparation for the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The 21 players and staff assembled in Atlanta on Saturday (Aug. 11) and trained for two days before leaving on Monday afternoon for Changwon, South Korea. With a 14-hour flight, the U.S. will arrive in Changwon on Tuesday evening and hold their first training session in South Korea on Wednesday morning.

HACKWORTH’S 21 PREPARE FOR GROUP E: Head coach John Hackworth’s 21-player squad will have six full days in Changwon to adjust to the time change and train in preparation for their three opponents in Group E – Tajikistan, Tunisia and Belgium. The U.S. will open the tournament on Aug. 20 against Tajikistan in Changwon before taking on Tunisia on Aug. 23 and finally moving to Cheonan to take on Belgium to close out Group E play on Aug. 26. Hackworth selected the majority of his 21-man roster from the 40 available players in U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program based in Bradenton, Fla., with only two players, Tommy Meyer and Daniel Cruz, not currently part of Residency. All of the players on the roster were born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, with five players from the younger 1991 age group.

U.S. Under-17 World Cup Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Larry Jackson (East Palo Alto, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Tommy Meyer (St. Louis, Mo.), Chris Klute (Grand Prairie, Texas), Kofi Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas, Texas), Kirk Urso (Lombard, Ill.), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Gregory Garza (Grapevine, Texas), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.)
FORWARDS (5): Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.), Abdusalam Ibrahim (FC Dallas), Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.), Daniel Cruz (Glendale, Ariz.)

USA ON ESPNU AND ESPN2: ESPNU will televise each of the United States’ three group stage games live, and replay the games in the afternoon in their exclusive English-language coverage of the World Cup. ESPN2 will also simulcast the team’s second Group E game on Thursday, Aug. 23 against Tunisia. ESPNU and will combine to present all 52 matches. ESPNU will televise 23 matches total, including the championship on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 5:45 a.m. ET, while will offer 29 matches from the round robin stage. The final two U.S. U-17 group matches will also be broadcast live in Spanish on Galavision.

U.S. FIFA U-17 World Cup Television Schedule
Date        Opponent      Time (ET)      Venue             TV
Aug. 20   Tajikistan       6:45 a.m.      Changwon     ESPNU
Aug. 23   Tunisia           3:45 a.m.      Changwon     ESPN2 / ESPNU / Galavision
Aug. 23   Belgium         2:45 a.m.      Cheonan        ESPNU / Galavision
Full World Cup Schedule

ONE MORE MATCH BEFORE THE WORLD CUP: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team fell to Costa Rica in the final warm up for both teams before departing for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in South Korea. Despite a late goal from Jared Jeffrey, two first-half goals for Costa Rica were too much of a deficit for the U.S. to overcome. In the 24th minute, a U.S. clearance deflected off of a U.S. player straight to Julio Ibarra, who fired a shot from the corner of the penalty area that beat goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the near post. Just before halftime, Marcos Urena Porras beat MacMath one-on-one, finishing a through ball from Jordan Smith to make the score 2-0. The U.S. fought back and cut the lead in half in the 85th minute when Jeffrey fired a 20-yard shot past Costa Rican goalkeeper Leonel Moreira, but the Americans could not find the equalizer.

MEET THE TEAM VIA all_access: For the past two years, you’ve heard the names – Zac MacMatch, Sheanon Williams, Daniel Wenzel and all the rest – but now’s your chance to see them up close in the first two all_access videos on the U-17s as they get set for the World Cup. First, get introduced to all 21 players in our unique all_access style and then hear from head coach John Hackworth and a collection of players as they talk about the last two years in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program and what they expect to encounter in South Korea.

INSIDER’S BLOG: Want to get all the scoop on what the U-17s are up to while in South Korea? Look no further than’s U-17 MNT Blog, which will make it feel like you’re in the locker room, sitting at a team meal, sleeping at the hotel, riding on the team bus, training on the field with the team and, well, you get the picture.

A NEW FACE: Three and a half years ago, forward Danny Cruz had never really watched a soccer game. Now, he’s a member of the 21-player roster for the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The former hockey and football star started playing soccer during his freshman year of high school and never looked back, rising up the ranks quickly to make it all the way to the national team. Learn more about the Glendale, Ariz. native in Center Circle’s exclusive interview.

1 – Abdusalam Ibrahim is the lone professional player on the team. Ibrahim was drafted by FC Dallas in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. He was drafted in the second round (14th overall) at the age of 15, becoming the second-youngest player ever selected in an MLS SuperDraft, following 14-year-old Freddy Adu in 2004

2 – Zac MacMath and Josh Lambo are two of the best young goalkeepers in the world, and have shared playing time over the past two years, including qualifying.

3 – In high school, Brendan King was named cross country Conference Champion for the 2002-03 season and won the triple jump in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

4 – In the 11 previous world championships in this age group, the USA’s best finish ever finish came in 1999 in New Zealand when the U-17s led by Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu and Bobby Convey advanced to the semifinals and eventually finished fourth.

5 – U.S. head coach John Hackworth will be leading the U.S. at the World Cup for the second time. He was previously head coach at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.

6 – This past May in Jamaica, the U.S. won Group B of the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament. It was the fourth straight time they’ve won their final qualifying group, and the sixth overall.

7 – Seven players have been in U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program since the fall semester of 2005, the beginning of this group’s two-year cycle: Lambo, Mykell Bates, Jared Jeffrey, Ellis McLoughlin, Kirk Urso, Daniel Wenzel and Sheanon Williams.

12 – The U.S. is the only country that has qualified for all 12 FIFA Under-17 World Cups since its inception in 1985.

13 - South Korea is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

14 – Ellis McLoughlin is the team’s leading scorer over the past two years, compiling 14 international goals

40+ - Midfield general Jared Jeffrey leads the team in international appearances with more than 40 during the past two years.