The USA will enter the Sept. 26 match against Paraguay with a 16-game international unbeaten streak spanning 13 months and 1,440 minutes. The streak is the longest in U.S. U-17 history and over the past two years the U-17s have compiled a 23-7-7 international record.
As part of their preparations for the world championship U.S. U-17 head coach John Ellinger has scheduled numerous international matches against other New Zealand '99 qualifiers, such as Paraguay, to ready the USA squad for the youth world championship.
"Paraguay plays a very similar style to Uruguay, our third opponent in group play, and these two matches will give our team the opportunity to experience what they can expect from Uruguay at the world championship," said U.S. U-17 head coach John Ellinger.
Paraguay finished second at the CONMEBOL qualifying tournament behind current U-17 world title holders Brazil with a 3-0-3 record. Paraguay played New Zealand, the USA's first opponent in group play at the world championship, on Sept. 20 and 22, in Paraguay. In both games Paraguay shutout the Kiwi's 2-0 and 2-0.
U.S. U-17 head coach John Ellinger heads into the Paraguay match with the highest winning percentage (.700) among U.S. U-17 National Team coaches in the '90s. A veteran of numerous coaching assignments since becoming a U.S. Soccer National Team Staff Coach in 1982, Ellinger is also currently assistant coach with the U.S. U-23 Men's National Team.
Following the friendlies against Paraguay the USA will depart for Germany Oct. 1-11 to play matches against top German youth club teams. The U.S. road to New Zealand will conclude at the Born in the USA Tournament to be held in Atlanta, October 15-17. The U.S. is scheduled to play the world's top U-17 national teams at the tournament, in a scheduled to be released at the end of September.
The U.S. U-17 National Team will depart for New Zealand on November 3. The USA's first match will be on Nov.10 against host nation New Zealand followed by a Nov. 13 showdown with Poland. The U-17s will conclude group play on Nov. 16 when they play South American powerhouse Uruguay.
The USA-Paraguay matches will be played at the Bollettieri Soccer Academy soccer fields with kickoff scheduled at 3:00 p.m. for both games. Admission is free and fans will have an opportunity to meet the U.S. U-17 team at an autograph session following the match on Sept. 26. For more information please contact the Bollettieri Sports Offices at 941/755-1000.