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U.S. U-17 MNT Roster Named for Panama International Tournament

CHICAGO (Sept. 26, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams named a 20-player roster for the four-team Panama U-17 International Tournament from Oct. 1-5.

The USA will face Costa Rica on Wednesday, Oct. 1, followed by Canada on Oct. 3 and host Panama on Oct. 5, with all games played at Estadio Maracaná in Panama City.

The U-17s most recently played in the Nordic Open Cup Tournament in Denmark and the third Copa Mexico in Mexico City, with the two events overlapping each other from late July to early August. The USA took sixth place in the Nordic Open Cup and earned fourth place at the Copa Mexico.

In international competition, Haji Wright and Christian Pulisic lead this group with 11 goals apiece this year. Six of Pulisic’s goals came during the Copa Mexico. Wright is the top goal scorer for the U-17s dating back to last year with a combined 17 goals over this stretch in 17 games.

The goalkeeping duo of William Pulisic (6-3-0) and Kevin Silva (5-0-1) has handled the majority of international play in 2014. Silva leads the team with three shutouts and a 0.87 goals against average.

The USA roster includes 15 players who are in the midst of their fall semester in the U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. Fourteen players have current ties to the Development Academy.

The U.S. U-17 MNT is 12-5-1 in international competition and 13-5-5 overall in 2014.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7):  Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.)
FORWARDS (6):  Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)

The Younger Yanks Are Coming

ussoccer.com: Having reviewed the win against the Czech Republic, what are your lasting impressions of the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. We asked this younger generation - the group that here and there was not a big part of the World Cup in Brazil - to step it up and make statements. I think that young group made a very, very strong statement. We asked players such as Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Jozy Altidore and others to take the responsibilities into their hands and guide that young team in Prague, and that’s what they did. Winning in Prague against a Czech team that barely missed out on qualifying for the World Cup is a strong statement. So overall, it was a very positive trip. We learned a lot, and this group deserves to come along.”

ussoccer.com: There seemed to be an increased aggressiveness in the midfield. What were your instructions to those guys?
JK: “With every young group that comes through the system, you want them to step it up physically year by year. You want them to take over responsibilities, you want them to grow, to be louder on the field, but also to send out signals physically. It’s a physical sport, and in many cases it’s about one-on-one battles on the field and winning those battles. That’s what Mix, Michael Orozco, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Ale Bedoya did. They stepped up and showed they can compete physically. That’s what we wanted to see, so for that reason they deserve a compliment.”

ussoccer.com: The team also seemed to show a commitment to playing out of the bac, particularly with the distribution by Brad Guzan. Did you ask them to stick with that plan and not be afraid to take risks? Is that something you plan to preach moving forward?
JK: “It’s definitely a huge step for us to play out of the back, to find defenders and open up the game right away and not to play long balls all the time. Pretty much every long ball is a turn over. In the first half with Brad Guzan delivering those balls into Diskerud, into the fullbacks, into the centerbacks, that looked really nice. Obviously for Nick Rimando, he’s used to doing that. He’s almost like a field player and he’s very comfortable playing out of the back. We told them not to worry about making mistakes. Here and there it might happen, but we want this game to be developed from the back into the midfield and then into the forwards and not to be forced always to play long balls. This is something we are going to encourage more and more going forward. We want to keep the ball. We want to build out of the back. We want them to have the confidence to do that and not worry about mistakes. I think it was a big step forward, and we will emphasize that going into the October games as well.”

ussoccer.com: While Jozy didn’t have many scoring chances, he seemed to show improved hold up play. What were your impressions?
JK: “It was huge for us to have Jozy Altidore back in our lineup. This was the biggest bummer for us in the World Cup, to lose Jozy in the first game. I think we could have made a huge step in the World Cup, especially facing a team like Belgium in the Round of 16, if Jozy had been on the field.  I asked him to guide this young group. He’s still a young guy himself - he’s 24 years old but he already has 70 caps. We made him the captain and told him to guide these guys and he enjoyed that. He battled the whole game. He won most of his one-on-one battles, he provided great assists. He connected with Joe Gyau to the right and Julian green to the left, and connected to the midfield. It was a very strong performance by Jozy, even if he didn’t score. This is what we want to see from him. Sooner or later, I told him you are going to score your goals in the Premier League and continue to score goals for the National Team.”

2014 Nike Friendlies and Academy Winter Showcase Set for Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida

CHICAGO (Sept. 10, 2014) – The 2014 Nike International Friendlies and Development Academy Winter Showcase event will return to the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, from Nov. 28-Dec. 3.

The Nike Friendlies feature the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team and three other international opponents: Australia, Brazil and England. The format of the tournament includes three doubleheaders, with the USA match serving as the marquee second game. The U.S. faces England on Nov. 28, Australia on Nov. 30 and Brazil on Dec. 2.

All six games at the Nike Friendlies will be live on ussoccer.com, with the first game kicking off at 3 p.m. ET and the USA game at 6 p.m. This marks the 12th edition of the Nike International Friendlies.

In conjunction with this event, the Academy Winter Showcase brings together the U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams in the Academy for an important three-game set against teams outside their respective conferences and divisions. On Thursday, Dec. 1, two Academy Select teams will compete against each other in a match showcasing 1997- and 1998-born players handpicked by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors and Youth National Team staff.

The Academy Winter Showcase schedule runs on Nov. 29, Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 for the U-17/18 age group and Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 3 for the U-15/16s.

The U.S. U-17s have had a strong spell at the Nike Friendlies, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2013. Last year’s tournament was capped off by the USA’s 4-1 victory against Brazil on Dec. 13, 2013, with LA Galaxy Academy product Haji Wright scoring two goals in that final game to earn the tournament’s Golden Boot with five tallies for the tournament. Players Development Academy alum Kevin Silva was awarded the Golden Glove award as the event’s top goalkeeper and PA Classics product Christian Pulisic was named the tournament MVP.

U.S. Soccer’s Nike Friendlies were established in 2001 to provide top-level competition for the U.S. U-17 MNT and is one of the premier annual events on the youth soccer calendar. Starting in 2008, the event evolved to incorporate U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. This event also allows the U.S. Scouting Network to have a presence at every match to evaluate players.

2014 Nike International Friendlies Schedule
All games live on ussoccer.com
Friday, Nov. 28
Australia vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. ET
USA vs. England, 6 p.m. ET

Sunday, Nov. 30
Brazil vs. England, 3 p.m. ET
USA vs. Australia, 6 p.m. ET

Tuesday, Dec. 2
England vs. Australia, 3 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil, 6 p.m. ET

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