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Group A Leader U-17 MNT Blanks Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 at 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (March 2, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team scored a goal in each half to defeat Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in Group A play at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship at Estadio Francisco Morazán. 

Joe Gallardo scored his tournament-leading fourth goal from of a free kick in the 31st minute and Haji Wright tallied his first goal in qualifying in the 71st minute. 

The U.S. is atop Group A with a 2-0-0 record and plus-7 goal differential, while Trinidad & Tobago falls to 0-2-0 and a minus-5 goal differential. 

The USA next faces Guatemala at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 5, at Estadio Francisco Morazán (FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes). 

Earlier Monday in Group A action, Jamaica defeated Guatemala 2-1. Guatemala falls to 1-1-0 with a plus-2 goal differential and Jamaica improves to 1-1-0 with a minus-1 goal differential. Cuba (0-1-0, minus-5) and Honduras (1-0-0, plus-2) face each other in Monday night’s last Group A game. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Joe Gallardo, 31st minute: Gallardo drew a foul just above the box, and the USA forward took the subsequent free kick with confidence. Gallardo shot low to the right of Trinidad & Tobago’s seven-man wall and past diving goalkeeper Levi Fernandez, into the right of the frame for the lead. USA 1, TRI 0 

USA – Haji Wright (Christian Pulisic), 71st minute: Pulisic played a long ball from midfield to Wright down the left side. Wright had a couple steps on Trinidad & Tobago defender Tekay Hoyce and shot left-footed to the inside of the far right post, past Levi Fernandez, for the two-goal lead. Wright now has 27 goals in 31 games during his U-17 MNT tenure. USA 2, TRI 0 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
TRI – Noah Powder and Tekay Hoyce, 9th minute: The USA had back-to-back scoring chances shortly after a set piece. After Christian Pulisic’s corner kick from the left side bounced through traffic, Alejandro Zendejas crossed the ball back in from the right. Haji Wright headed it toward the left side of the frame and Powder made a key goal line clearance. Joe Gallardo kept things alive with a shot at the near left post and Hoyce deflected it out for a USA corner kick. 

USA – Hugo Arellano, 35th minute: Trinidad & Tobago did not create too many clear-cut chances, but a lofted cross by Kareem Riley caused some concern for the USA. Goalkeeper Will Pulisic was unable to cleanly deflect the ball away, but his center back and team captain was up to the task with the clearance near the six-yard box.

TRI – Levi Fernandez, 49th minute: USA right back Matthew Olosunde was effective when he pushed up, and provided a dangerous cross in the middle of the box. Fernandez read it well and made a diving punch for the clearance with U.S. attackers lurking. 

USA – Will Pulisic, 87th minute: Pulisic had yet to face a shot on goal, but he was tested twice in succession down the stretch and came up big on both occasions. Kerron Mason ripped a right-footed shot from well outside the box and Pulisic dove to his left for the save. The rebound popped out to Noah Powder from seven yards out at the near right post, and Pulisic again thwarted the Trinidad & Tobago offense with a well-positioned save. 

Next on the Schedule:
The U-17 MNT resumes Group A play against Guatemala at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 5, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • The U-17 MNT is now 5-1-0 in international play this year.
  • The USA moved to 5-1-3 all-time against Trinidad & Tobago in this tournament’s history.
  • Head coach Richie Williams’ starting lineup featured three changes from the USA’s 5-0 victory against Cuba on Friday.
  • Goalkeeper Will Pulisic returned in net, and three of the four defenders also started in their second straight match: left back John Nelson, right back Matthew Olosunde and center back and team captain Hugo Arellano. Tanner Dieterich earned his first start of qualifying as the other center back.
  • The midfield of the 4-3-3 formation included another start for Christian Pulisic in an attacking role, while Luca de la Torre and Tommy McCabe garnered their first starts in the tournament. It marked McCabe’s first appearance in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
  • The front line featured returning starters Haji Wright on the right and Joe Gallardo in the middle. Alejandro Zendejas, who started in the midfield against Cuba, was pushed up to forward on the left side.
  • Christian Pulisic and Wright lead the team with 31 international caps in this cycle dating back to 2013.
  • The USA made its first sub in the 64th minute when McKinze Gaines replaced de la Torre. Gaines leads the USA with appearances in all six international games in 2015.
  • Tyler Adams made his second straight appearance off the bench, replacing Christian Pulisic in the 83rd minute.
  • In the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Richie Williams utilized his final substitution with Brandon Vazquez entering for Gallardo. It was Vazquez’s first appearance of the tournament.
  • Trinidad & Tobago played without Shirwin Noel, who served a one-game suspension after receiving a red card in the 39th minute of the team’s opening 4-1 loss to Guatemala on Feb. 27. 

- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: March 2, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 81 degrees; Mostly cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                              1 1 2
TRI                                0 0 0

USA – Joe Gallardo                                        31st minute
USA – Haji Wright (Christian Pulisic)             71

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson; 16-Thomas McCabe, 8-Luca de la Torre (13-McKinze Gaines, 64), 10-Christian Pulisic (18-Tyler Adams, 83); 7-Haji Wright, 9-Joe Gallardo (19-Brandon Vazquez, 90+1), 20-Alejandro Zendejas
Subs Not Used: 4-Alexis Velela, 6-Eric Calvillo, 11-Josh Perez, 12-Kevin Silva, 15-Daniel Barbir, 17-Pierre da Silva
Head coach: Richie Williams

TRI: 1-Levi Fernandez; 3-Keston Julien, 4-Tekay Hoyce, 6-Kareem Riley, 7-Shakeem Patrick; 8-Joshua Burnett (17-Jeankeon Alexander, 84), 10-Morgan Bruce, 11-Jarren Nixon (9-Chaz Burnett, 60), 12-Kierron Mason; 14-Isaiah Hudson (13-Kishon Hacksaw, 82), 19-Noah Powder (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 2-Isaiah Garcia, 15-Darnell Hospedales, 16-Shobai Celestin, 18-Jean-Paul Rochford, 20-Tyrek James
Head coach: Shawn Cooper

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 12 / 10
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 11
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Thomas McCabe (caution)                 74th minute
TRI – Joshua Burnett (caution)                      78
USA – Matthew Olosunde (caution)               85

Officials:
Referee: Adrian Skeete (BRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Ake (BLZ)
Fourth Official: Kimbell Ward (SKT)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Hugo Arellano

U-17 MNT Continues World Cup Qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team resumes Group A play at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship when it faces Trinidad & Tobago at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, March 2, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The game is live on FOX Sports 2 and Univision Deportes, and fans can follow on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

The USA took hold of first place in the group with a resounding 5-0 victory against Cuba on Feb. 27. Joe Gallardo led the way with three goals, while Hugo Arellano and Alejandro Zendejas each contributed a goal. The U-17 MNT’s plus-5 goal differential puts the team ahead of Guatemala (1-0-0, plus-3 goal differential) and host Honduras (1-0-0, plus-2 goal differential).

Trinidad & Tobago dropped its group opener 4-1 go Guatemala on Feb. 27. Keston Julien’s 45th-minute goal cut Guatemala’s lead to 2-1, but Guatemala responded in first-half stoppage time and padded its lead early in the second half.

Here is breakdown of the USA’s history against Trinidad & Tobago in this tournament:

  • The USA has faced Trinidad & Tobago eight previous times in this tournament, which ties for the most games (along with Honduras) against the Group A opponents. The U.S. is 4-1-3 all-time.
  • The first two meetings came at the 1983 CONCACAF U-16 Championship. The USA and Trinidad drew 1-1 in the opening round on Aug. 30, and then played to a scoreless draw through regulation in the title match on Sept. 3. The U.S. won the tournament title 5-3 in penalties.
  • The U.S. earned a 4-0 win to open the preliminary round of the 1987 CONCACAF U-16 Championship on Feb. 15.
  • At the 1988 CONCACAF U-16 Championship, the USA lost 1-0 to Trinidad on Nov. 20 to cap off the group stage, but made up for that result with a 1-0 U.S. win on Nov. 27 in the tournament’s final round in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
  • At the 1991 CONCACAF U-16 Championship, the USA and Trinidad & Tobago drew 1-1 in the final round on March 31.
  • The USA’s top offensive performance against Trinidad was at the 1994 CONCACAF U-16 Championship with a 5-3 victory on Nov. 5 in the group stage.
  • The last time the U.S. and Trinidad & Tobago faced each other was at the 2007 CONCACAF U-17 Tournament, where the USA garnered a 3-0 victory on April 30. Alex Nimo scored twice, with Brek Shea assisting his second goal. Ellis McLoughlin contributed the other U.S. tally off of a Sheanon Williams assist.

U-17 MNT Posts 5-0 Victory against Cuba to Open 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Feb. 27, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team got off to a strong start at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, earning a 5-0 victory against Cuba in the Group A opener at Estadio Francisco Morazán. 

Joe Gallardo scored three goals, Hugo Arellano and Alejandro Zendejas tallied in the first half, while Christian Pulisic and Luca de la Torre each provided two assists to lead the way for the USA. 

With the victory, the U-17 MNT has now won seven straight group openers at this qualifying event, starting with the 2001 edition of the tournament. 

It was a dominant performance by the USA, which had ample chances to pad the lead in both halves. Gallardo struck the right post in the 20th minute and Haji Wright had a wide-open scoring opportunity but hit the left of the frame in the 50th minute. 

In Friday’s earlier Group A match, Guatemala defeated Trinidad & Tobago 4-1. Jamaica and Honduras kicked off their group opener following USA-Cuba. 

The USA next faces Trinidad & Tobago at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, March 2, at Estadio Francisco Morazán (FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes). 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Hugo Arellano (Christian Pulisic), 5th minute: Pulisic, who had threatened the net just one minute earlier to earn the corner kick, took the set piece opportunity from the left side, whipping the ball into the box to Arellano. The team captain rose over three Cuba defenders and headed it into the right side of the frame for the early lead. It was Arellano’s first goal of the year and second during his U-17 MNT tenure. USA 1, CUB 0 

USA – Joe Gallardo (Christian Pulisic), 40th minute: Pulisic and Alejandro Zendejas played a swift give-and-go down the right side and Pulisic crossed from the edge of the six-yard box. Gallardo tapped it home with ease for his second goal of the year and 11th of his U-17 MNT career. USA 2, CUB 0 

USA – Alejandro Zendejas, 43rd minute: Just before halftime, the USA worked the ball in from the left and Cuba’s Felipe Hurtado attempted a header clearance. Zendejas was there to settle the ball and ripped a long distance shot into the left of the frame to push the lead to three goals. Zendejas tallied his first international goal of 2015 and fourth during his U-17 career. USA 3, CUB 0 

USA – Joe Gallardo (Luca de la Torre), 65th minute: Just seconds after entering the match, de la Torre took two quick touches in the box and set up Gallardo from 20 yards out. Gallardo fired toward the left of the frame, his shot bouncing once in the six-yard box, slightly deflected by Cuba goalkeeper Jesus Enrique Hernandez and finding its way into the back of the net. USA 4, CUB 0 

USA – Joe Gallardo (Luca de la Torre), 88th minute: The USA wrapped up its scoring when de la Torre played a through ball to Gallardo at close range. Gallardo’s shot was stopped briefly by Jesus Enrique Hernandez, but bounced right back to Gallardo who capitalized on the second chance and found the left side of the frame for the hat trick. He now leads the U-17s this year with four goals this year and has 14 career goals. USA 5, CUB 0 (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
CUB – Jesus Enrique Hernandez, 10th and 13th minutes: The Honduras goalkeeper was challenged early and often, required to limit the damage on a couple occasions. In the 10th minute, Hernandez lunched to his right for a diving save on Josh Perez’s strike. Hernandez allowed a rebound, but Christian Pulisic was offside. Then in the 13th minute, Hernandez again dove to his right to smother another Perez shot. 

USA – Will Pulisic, 23rd minute: Cuba’s Eduard Puga drove a free kick into the box that Alejandro Zendejas headed away. But Cuba continued to threaten in the area and had a chance to attack the net again from the left side of the box with much of the back line pushed up. Pulisic alertly darted off of his line and snared the ball at the edge of the box. 

CUB – Jesus Enrique Hernandez, 62nd minute: U.S. forward Joe Gallardo found a window to shoot from 21 yards out. Hernandez once again made a diving save to his right, making up for a Cuba back line that allowed plenty of space for the USA to work the ball in. 

Next on the Schedule:
The U-17 MNT resumes Group A play against Trinidad & Tobago at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, March 2, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • The U-17 MNT is now 4-1-0 in international play this year.
  • The USA moved to 6-0-2 all-time against Cuba in this tournament’s history.
  • Head coach Richie Williams’ starting lineup featured a 4-3-3 formation, with Will Pulisic in net and a defensive line that included John Nelson at left back, Matthew Olosunde at right back and a center back duo of team captain Hugo Arellano and Alexis Velela.
  • The midfield trio comprised of Alejandro Zendejas, Eric Calvillo and Christian Pulisic in an attacking role.
  • The front line featured Josh Perez on the left, Haji Wright on the right and Joe Gallardo in the middle.
  • Christian Pulisic and Wright earned their 30th international caps in this age group, tying for the most by any player in this cycle.
  • Every starter – other than Gallardo who was injured for much of 2014 with a leg injury – has earned 19 or more caps in this age group.
  • The USA was forced to burn an early substitution in the 28th minute when Tyler Adams entered for Calvillo, who suffered a lower leg injury.
  • Midfielder Luca de la Torre made his first appearance of the year when he entered for Zendejas in the 64th minute.
  • In the 84th minute, McKinze Gaines entered the game for Wright. Gaines is the only USA player to appear in all five international matches this year.

- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Cuba U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Feb. 27, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
Attendance: 720
Weather: 86 degrees; clear

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F

USA                            3 2 5 
CUB                            0 0 0

USA – Hugo Arellano (Christian Pulisic)                   5th minute
USA – Joe Gallardo (Christian Pulisic)                      40
USA – Alejandro Zendejas                                         43
USA – Joe Gallardo (Luca de le Torre)                      65
USA – Joe Gallardo (Luca de la Torre)                      88

Lineups: 
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Alexis Velela, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson; 6-Eric Calvillo (18-Tyler Adams, 28), 20-Alejandro Zendejas (8-Luca de la Torre, 64), 10-Christian Pulisic; 7-Haji Wright (13-McKinze Gaines, 86), 9-Joe Gallardo, 11-Josh Perez
Subs Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 16-Thomas McCabe, 17-Pierre da Silva, 19-Brandon Vazquez
Head coach: Richie Williams

CUB: 12-Enrique Hernandez; 2-Felipe Hurtado (18-Neisser Sando, 54), 3-Dariel Morejon, 4-Carlos Borromeo (capt.), 15-Jeffrey Delgado; 5-Jansiel Blanco, 6-Jonathan Ramirez (17-Yordan Alonso, 66), 7-Raycharles Herrera (16-Brian Savigne, 87), 10-Eduard Puga, 13-Serguey Campillo; 8-Yosniel Gonzalez 
Subs Not Used: 1-Lazaro Garcia; 9-Carlos Sebrango, 11-Nelson Betancourt, 14-Yon Hernandez, 19-Omar Romero, 20-Yordanis Barreto  
Head coach: Fidel Salazar

Stats Summary: USA / CUB
Shots: 21 / 6
Shots on Goal: 13 / 0
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 14
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary: 
CUB – Felipe Hurtado (caution)                                39th minute
USA – Alejandro Zendejas (caution)                        51
USA – Haji Wright (caution)                                     69

Officials: 
Referee: Mathieu Boudeau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Kenroy Willis (CAY)
Assistant Referee 2: Zachari Zeegelar
Fourth Official: Drew Fisher (CAN)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Joe Gallardo

U-17 MNT Kicks Off 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Today

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team kicks off the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship  (Feb. 27 to March 12) today at 5 p.m. ET. The USA has been drawn with host Honduras, Cuba, Guatemala, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in Group A. 

The U.S. opens against Cuba today at 5 p.m. ET, followed by Trinidad & Tobago (March 2), Guatemala (March 5), Honduras (March 8) and Jamaica (March 11). All of the USA’s group matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 2, with the exception of its March 8 game against Honduras, which will be on FOX Soccer Plus. Fans can also follow on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt

The tournament, which takes place at two venues: Estadio Francisco Morazán for all Group A matches, and Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano for all Group B matches, the two Playoff games and the title match, will qualify four teams to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile this October. 

On Feb. 24, U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams named a 20-player roster for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

 u17mnt

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond United), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy)
DEFENDERS (7): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ), John Nelson (Internationals), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City Academy), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey), Josh Perez (Unattached), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana), Haji Wright (Unattached)

Qualifying Format Change: The CONCACAF U-17 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams. Under the new setup (which was also implemented earlier this year in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship), the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Eyes on Chile 2015: The U.S. has qualified in 14 FIFA U-16 or U-17 World Championships, which ties for the most appearances with Brazil. The 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup was the only occurrence in which the USA did not qualify for this tournament. The USA’s best performance was a fourth-place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand. Landon Donovan earned the Golden Ball, which honors the tournament’s MVP.

2015 U.S. U-17 MNT RESULTS 

International record: 3-1-0; overall: 3-1-0

Date

Opponent

Result

U.S. Goal Scorers

Venue

Feb. 2

Panama

2-0 W

C. Pulisic, Perez

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

Feb. 4

Panama

0-2 L

--

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

Feb. 20

Bermuda

5-2 W

C. Pulisic, Gallardo, Perez, Wright (2)

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

Feb. 22

Bermuda

4-0 W

Vazquez (2), del Rosario

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.


Richie Williams Names 20-Player Roster for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 20-player roster that will represent the USA at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The U.S. opens Group A play against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, at Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes).

“We’re very happy with the 20-man roster that we named, and we think it’s a strong and deep roster,” Williams said. “Obviously there were difficult decisions that needed to be made because we have a very good group, and we have a lot of players that have been here for a year and a half to two years that have really worked hard and developed. That made it difficult in terms of choosing that 20-man roster. It’s not easy when you have to tell players that they haven’t made it. But again, we feel this is a strong roster and it’s a group that’s ready to go and compete and win a championship.”

The USA is paired with Cuba, Guatemala, host side Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in Group A at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. After the USA’s game against Cuba on Feb. 27, the U-17 MNT faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 2, followed by Guatemala (March 5), Honduras (March 8) and Jamaica (March 11).

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond United), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy)
DEFENDERS (7): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ), John Nelson (Internationals), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City Academy), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey), Josh Perez (Unattached), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana), Haji Wright (Unattached)

Four countries from the CONCACAF region will directly qualify from this tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Group A and B winners will clinch a berth for the World Cup and earn a spot in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship title match on March 15. The group’s second- and third-place teams will advance to a playoff stage. Those four teams will be seeded, with the No. 2 and 3 seeds playing in one playoff and the No. 1 and 4 seeds in the other playoff game, both taking place on March 15. The two playoff victors will earn the other two berths for the U-17 World Cup.

Additional Roster Notes:

  • Nineteen of the 20 players also have ties to the Development Academy.
  • Much of this U-17 MNT roster played a big role in the USA’s 17-7-3 international campaign in 2014.
  • The roster includes forward Haji Wright, the leading goal scorer last year with 18 goals in 22 matches. Midfielder Christian Pulisic, who officially joined German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund earlier this month, is coming off a strong 2014 with the U-17s that included 17 goals and seven assists in international play. Both Wright and Pulisic were nominees for 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.
  • The U-17s have had a successful cycle in international competition, including four tournament titles.
  • Most of this group was part of the 2013 Nike International Friendlies championship side and earned a runner-up finish in the 2014 Nike Friendlies.
  • Also in 2014, the USA defeated host Turkey to win the Aegean Cup title, followed by a championship crown at the Josip Katalinski International Tournament in Bosnia-Herzegovina and a title run at the Panama U-17 International Tournament in early October.
  • In preparation for qualifying, the U-17s have had four international matches this month. The U.S. split a two-game set against Panama on Feb. 2 and 4, then showcased a strong offensive display this past weekend with a 5-2 victory against Bermuda on Friday, Feb. 20, followed by a 4-0 win in the rematch two days later.
  • The USA has qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup on 14 occasions, more than any other CONCACAF team. The U-17 MNT’s absence from the 2013 World Cup was the only occurrence that the USA did not qualify for that stage.

Richie Williams Names 28 Players to U-17 MNT 2015 Spring Residency Roster

CHICAGO (Jan. 27, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has invited 28 players to the 2015 Spring Semester of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida.

In late February and early March, the U-17 MNT will be participating in the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup for the CONCACAF region.

“This is an important semester for us and an important year for this cycle,” Williams said. “With World Cup qualifying at the beginning of March, it will be important for us to continue training well and performing well. We also need to find a balance with this group and some of the players who are not with us on a regular basis to form a 20-man roster that will head to qualifying to compete and get results.”

The U-17 Residency Program roster features 24 players who were with the team during the 2014 fall semester. The four newcomers to the group are defender Matthew Constant, midfielder Giuseppe Barone and forwards Elvir Ibisevic and Josh Perez.

The Residency roster also includes 25 players currently registered with Development Academy clubs, and 27 in all with ties to the Academy.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy; Westminster, Calif.), Will Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (9): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Matthew Constant (Dallas Texans; Carrollton, Texas), Nikkye De Point (Revolution Empire; Rochester, N.Y.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Giuseppe Barone (Crew SC Academy Wolves; Grandville, Mich.), George Braima (Crew SC Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Luka Prpa (Chicago Magic PSG; Wind Lake, Wis.), Nick Taitague (Richmond United; Midlothian, Va.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (8): Pierre Da Silva (Orlando City SC; Port Chester, N.Y.), Lucas Del Rosario (Capital Area RailHawks Academy – CASL; Durham, N.C.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Elvir Ibisevic (Sporting Iowa; Urbandale, Iowa), Eric Matzelevich (Bethesda-Olney; Washington, D.C.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.)

About the U-17 Residency Program:
The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and train in the morning under the guidance of the U.S. U-17 MNT coaching staff. In the afternoon, the players attend classes at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. While in the full-time residency program, the U.S. not only trains daily, but also has access to the IMG Academy facilities. The team regularly uses IMG’s state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as some of the nation’s best sports psychologists who work at the Academy. The IMG Academies include top-of-the-line soccer equipment, Bermuda grass fields, renovated student housing and dining facilities.

Since its inception, approximately 400 players have been through the full-time Residency Program, and more than 100 players have moved on to Major League Soccer and other professional leagues.

The first full-time U.S. Soccer Residency Program began on Jan. 17, 1999, when U.S. Soccer collected 20 of the country’s elite youth players to train year-round.

USA Draws Group A for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras

CHICAGO (Dec. 8, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team drew Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which runs Feb. 27-March 15 in Honduras. The draw took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The USA is paired with Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and an UNCAF qualifier – either El Salvador or Guatemala. The remaining UNCAF team will conduct its playoff January 17 and 24. All Group A games will be held at Francisco Morazan Stadium. The USA opens against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27.

“I think the draw went well,” U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams said. “We’re happy with the format of five group games and we feel confident that we’ll perform and do well. You never truly know until you get here. Obviously with Honduras in our group and playing at home, that will be difficult, but we’re ready to play against everyone and looking forward to it.”

The 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will be played Feb. 27-March 15 in San Pedro Sula. The tournament will qualify four teams directly to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

  • Group A: Honduras, Jamaica, (UNCAF team), Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Cuba
  • Group B: Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St. Lucia, Costa Rica

USA’s Group A Schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 27: Cuba, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Monday, March 2: Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Thursday, March 5: TBD (UNCAF team), 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Sunday, March 8: Honduras, 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local)
  • Wednesday, March 11: Jamaica, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)

The CONCACAF U-17 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams.

Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The playoff stage and final matches of qualifying will be held Saturday, March 14, at Olympic Stadium.

The U.S. U-17 MNT is coming off a second-place showing at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies. This age group has had a strong 2014 with 27 international matches and high-quality tournaments, posting a 17-7-3 international record (18-7-7 overall).

“It’s been our goal over the past year and a half to get as many international games as we can and play in different countries and against different teams,” Williams said. “The tournament in Mexico, the trip to Panama, competing against other CONCACAF opponents to get experience, all these games are excellent opportunities. We’ve given everyone the experience to have a strong 20-man roster come qualifying, and hopefully all of this will translate into a successful result in the tournament.”

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Draw

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