CHICAGO (July 7, 2017) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group A with host India, Ghana and Colombia for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup which runs from Oct. 6-28 in India.
The USA opens group play against India on Oct. 6, followed by Ghana on Oct. 9 and Colombia on Oct. 12. The first two games will be played at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, while the third will be played at Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
"Right now our team is chomping at the bit to get back into international completion because in our last experience, we walked away with a real sour taste in our mouth,” U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth said. “This team has ambitions and the only way to satisfy some of those ambitions is to get back on the field and prove yourself once again. This is a fantastic opportunity for us. We are going to work very hard and very smart as we build towards the World Cup, but we are certainly excited about the chance."
A total of 24 countries will participate in the U-17 World Cup later this year and the tournament will be held in six cities throughout India: Kochi, Goa, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata. The top two teams in each of the six four-team groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, will advance to the Round of 16 on Oct. 16, 17 and 18.
The championship and third-place matches take place Satday, Oct. 28, at the 66,600-capacity Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata.
2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Groups:
Group A: India (host), USA, Colombia, Ghana
Group B: Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand, Turkey
Group C: Iran, Guinea, Germany, Costa Rica
Group D: Korea DPR, Niger, Brazil, Spain
Group E: Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia, France
Group F: Iraq, Mexico, Chile, England
2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Group A Schedule:
Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m. ET: India vs. USA; Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Oct. 9, 7:30 a.m. ET: Ghana vs. USA; Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Oct. 12, 10:30 a.m. ET: USA vs. Colombia; Dr. DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
U.S. U-17 MNT Group A Opponents:
India has reached the U-17 World Cup for the first time in its federation’s history. The Blue Tigers only previous major FIFA tournaments came in the 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960 Olympic tournaments. The nation’s best finish was a fourth place showing in 1956. As hosts, India will look to capitalize on home field advantage and national support.
Colombia earns its sixth U-17 World Cup berth, and first since 2009. The team’s best finish came in 2003 and 2009, when they finished fourth in both tournaments. In their five tournament appearances since 1989, Columbia has posted a 7-9-7 overall record across 23 matches played.
Ghana makes their ninth U-17 World Cup appearance, and first since 2007. Qualifying for the World Cup by finishing second to Mali at the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations, the Black Stars have taken home the championship hardware twice in program history, 1991 and 1995 and come up just shy twice, taking silver in 1993 and 1997. In 43 games played from 1989 to 2007, Ghana has posted a 27-6-10 record, scoring 86 goals to 36 allowed. The Black Stars will present an athletic threat to the USA, as the two nations continue to build a special rivalry stemming from recent senior Men’s National Team World Cup encounters.
USA History at the FIFA U-17 FIFA World Cup
This is the 16th occasion that the USA has advanced to the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The USA’s best performance was a fourth-place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship that included wins against New Zealand and Uruguay and was capped off by a 2-0 loss to Ghana in the third-place match in front of 15,675 spectators at North Harbour Stadium, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Most recently at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the USA was unable to advance from a difficult Group A that included host Chile, Coratia and eventual tournament champion Nigeria.
USA’s Road to the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup
The U.S. enters the World Cup after finishing as runners up at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The USA went 3-0-0 in the group stage, finishing first in Group C over Mexico, Jamaica and El Salvador to earn one of the six spots in the classification stage. The win over Mexico marked the USA’s first-ever World Cup Qualifying victory against Mexico at the U-17 level and also ended El Tri’s 25-match unbeaten streak in CONCACAF U-17 Championship play.
In their two classification stage matches, the U-17 MNT defeated Honduras 3-0 and locked up a spot in the World Cup with a 6-2 victory against Cuba. In the Final, the U.S. fell to Mexico 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout after ending full time in a 1-1 draw.
U.S. goalkeeper Justin Garces, defenders Jaylin Lindsey and James Sands, midfielder Chris Durkin, and forward Josh Sargent earned CONCACAF U-17 Championship Best XI honors, with Garces receiving the Golden Glove award.
U.S. Soccer President at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Draw
U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati was on hand at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Draw in Mumbai as a special guest speaker and delivered an inspirational speech to the crowd. Gulati noted his connection to his birth country and the opportunity for Indian football the tournament promises.
“This tournament for me and for FIFA is about aspiration,” Gulati said. “Generally, we think about the aspirations of the players… but we don’t know who they are until they’ve played in this tournament and become stars afterwards. But they are aspiring when they play in the Under-17 World Cup… But it is also aspiration for India, aspiration for Indian football. We can bring those two things together and what’s been happening in the country over the last few years since this tournament was awarded to India is extraordinary.”