U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
In 2013, the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team will look to keep alive its impressive streak of having qualified for all 14 FIFA U-17 World Cups since the tournament’s inception in 1985. The U.S. won the 2010 CONCACAF U-17 Championship with a 3-1 overtime victory against Canada.
The 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup takes place April 6-19 in the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. will aim to qualify for its 15th consecutive World Cup. The 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will take place in Panama from April 6-19, and will determine the region’s four participants at the World Cup.
THE NEW CYCLE
The current crop of U.S. U-17 MNT players in Bradenton was born in 1996, making all 31 players eligible for the upcoming CONCACAF and FIFA events. Many of the players are entering their second year in the Residency Program, continuing the cycle that will culminate with the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The U.S. U-17 MNT staff will continue to keep a close eye on American players throughout the country and those who may be playing abroad.
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy continues to have a growing influence on the U-17s, with 24 of the current 32 player Residency roster stemming from Academy clubs. U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors continue to scour the country in search of the best players that are age eligible for the key events coming up in 2013.
HEAD COACH RICHIE WILLIAMS
Richie Williams was named the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach in January of 2012, moving into the position just a few months after being appointed the U-18 MNT head coach in October of 2011.
As the U-17 MNT head coach, Williams takes on the task of leading the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program, which has been in place since 1999. Williams has his sights set on the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The former U.S. National Team midfielder recently spent five seasons an assistant coach for Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls. During his Red Bulls tenure, he also had two stints as the team’s interim head coach. Williams began his coaching career in 2005 as an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, where he spent two seasons.
Williams made his international debut for the U.S. MNT on Nov. 6, 1998, against Australia. He made a total of 20 appearances for the team between 1998 and 2002, helping the U.S. to 12 wins, including the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also was a member of the U-23 and U-20 Men’s National Teams during his career.