SANTIAGO, Chile (Oct. 15, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team begins its run in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile against four-time U-17 champion Nigeria at Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos in Santiago, Chile on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 2/Telemundo).
The U-17's were drawn into Group A with host Chile, Croatia and Nigeria. Following the opening match, the team will then square off with Croatia on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar and Chile on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar.
The U.S. U-17s qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup after defeating Jamaica 5-4 in penalty kicks on March 15, 2015 in the final 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship playoff match.
In its last U-17 World Cup appearance in 2011, the USA was drawn into Group D where it finished in second place (1-1-1) ahead of New Zealand and the Czech Republic, and behind Uzbekistan. The MNT faced off with Germany in the Round of 16, falling 4-0 to the eventual third-place finisher.
This is the 15th occasion that the USA has advanced to a FIFA World Youth Championship or World Cup at this age group. The USA's best performance was a fourth-place finish at the FIFA U-17 World Youth Championship in 1999 that included wins against Uruguay and Mexico. The U.S. nearly reached the final, falling in a penalty kick shootout to Australia in the semifinal.
A total of 24 countries participate in the tournament. The top two teams in each group, as well as the best four third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16 on October 28 and 29.
U.S. Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (8): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.),Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Penn.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham F.C. San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Tex.)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (C.F. Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)
U.S. Roster Notes:
- Twenty of the 21 players on the roster were born in 1998, with Tyler Adams being the lone player born in 1999
- Twenty players on the roster are products of the Development Academy: Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy),Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Barbir (Players Development Academy), Calvillo(Real So Cal), da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy), de la Torre (Nomads SC & San Diego Surf), Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ),Gallardo (Nomads SC), Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy), McCabe(Players Development Academy), Nelson(Internationals), Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Perez (Chivas USA),C. Pulisic (PA Classics), W. Pulisic (Richmond United), Silva(Players Development Academy), Trusty(Philadelphia Union), Velela (San Diego Surf), Wright (LA Galaxy Academy),Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy)
- Twenty players on this roster were a part of the U-17 team that defeated Jamaica in Penalty Kicks in March to qualify for the World Cup.
- William Pulisic started as the goalkeeper in every match for the U-17's in the CONCACAF Championship
- Arellano, Da Silva, de la Torre, Gallardo, Perez, Christian Pulisic, Vazquez, Wright and Zendejas have each tallied goals with the U-17's this year. Perez leads the way having scored six times in 2015.
- Twenty players on the roster were a part of the Under-17 team that defeated Jamaica in penalty kicks in March to qualify the USA for the World Cup and 20 are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
- The team will bring along nine of its goal scorers from 2015 to Chile: Hugo Arellano, Pierre da Silva, Luca de la Torre, Joe Gallardo, Josh Perez, Christian Pulisic, Brandon Vazquez, Haji Wright and Alejandro Zendejas. Perez leads the way with six goals this year.
USA vs. NIGERIA:
- The United States have previously faced Nigeria once in World Cup play at the U-17 level, a 2-0 loss on Sept. 19, 2001 in Bacolet, Tobago.
- The U.S. are 2-6-1 all-time in the U-17 World Cup against teams from Africa.
IN FOCUS: NIGERIA
Nigerian Football Federation
FIFA affiliation: 1960
Head Coach: Emmanuel Amuneke
U-17 World Cup First Place Finish: 2013, 2007, 1993, 1985
U-17 World Cup Runner-Up Finish: 1987, 2001, 2009
NIGERIA ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Akpan Udoh, Amos Benjamin, Chisom Chiaha
DEFENDERS (4): Jon Lazarus, Lukman Zakari, Ejike Ikwu, Tobechukwu Ibe
MIDFIELDERS (8): David Enogela, Kalechi Nwakali, Joel Osikel, Samuel Chukwueze, Chinedu Madueke, Kingsley Michael, Chukwudi Agor, Edidiong Essien
FORWARDS (6): Funsho Bamgboye, Osinachi Ebere, Victor Osimhen, Udochukwu Anumudu, Sunday Alimi, Orji Okwonkwo
- Nigeria won the inaugural U-17 World Cup in 1985 in China.
- All four of Nigeria’s tournament wins have taken place in Asia.
- In ten U-17 World Cup appearances, Nigeria averages a record-high 2.34 points per game with a career record of 40-5-11.
- Nigeria boasts the youngest squad in the tournament field. The average age of their side will be 16 years, 11 months and ten days old on the first day of the tournament.