U.S. Under-15 Boys' National Team
A STEPPING STONE
The United States Under-15 Boys’ National Team – known as the Under-16 Boys’ National Team prior to 2003 – serves as a developmental and identification squad for potential future national team players. Based on recent results at the U-17, U-20, U-23 and full Men’s National Team levels, the Under-15 program is doing exactly that as numerous players have been able to move on and succeed at the next level.
The players for this pool fluctuate every year in conjunction with the Under-14 program and throughout the U-15 cycle. The U-15 Boys’ National Team and the U-14 National Development Program are closely tied in order to streamline player development and become familiar with the core players that make up the age group. Tony Lepore attends the Under-14 National Identification Camps throughout the cycle to evaluate players who eventually make up the core of his Under-15 National Team player pool for the coming year.
PUTTING PLAYERS IN THE BEST POSITION
The Under-15 Boys’ National Team program is also used to identify potential talent and prepare players for future involvement in international soccer. The players are introduced to a culture and style of play consistent throughout all of the U.S. National Teams. The U-15 BNT also addresses the importance of character development such as attitude, discipline, and commitment. A majority of the players in U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., have come through the U-15 program.
“We have increased our focus to identify and evaluate talented players at the younger age groups at U.S. Soccer Training Centers” said U.S. Soccer Head of Scouting Tony Lepore. “It’s an important role because the players are being introduced to the National Team program, being involved in our training centers helps us to evaluate them in a good environment, to get to know them better and helps them prepare them for a Youth National Team camp. It is all part of the process as the players move up the ladder with the Under-17, 18 and 20 National Teams.”
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR
The U-15 BNT continues to be busy throughout the year with numerous training camps on and two international trips before the next cycle of players comes in at the end of October, beginning with a week-long training camp for players born in 1998.
With domestic camps including at least 30 players in each, the U-15 BNT comes together several times throughout the year to train and play against top Development Academy clubs across the country. The team traveled Groenlo, Netherlands at the end of May, where they played seven matches against European club teams including a 2-0 win against Real Madrid’s U-15 team on June 1. The team traveled to Mexico City in June for the Copa Mexico de Naciones where they compiled a 1-1-1 record facing Spain, Costa Rica and Colombia.
The next cycle of players (‘98s) begins with a training camp scheduled for late October of 2012.