U.S. Soccer

Q&A: USA Head Coach John Hackworth Previews 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

With the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team set to kick off Group C of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship against Jamaica on Sunday, April 23 (1:30 p.m. ET; Facebook Live)., U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth sat down with ussoccer.com in Bradenton Fla., where the team has been preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament.

Hackworth is entering his third CONCACAF U-17 Championship as the USA head coach, having previously led the team in 2005 and 2007. He also served as an assistant with the U-17 MNT in 2003. The U.S. qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in each instance.

ussoccer.com: What were the challenges in determining the final roster?

John Hackworth: “The depth of the player pool in this age group is as good as we have ever seen.  Thus, our decisions in selecting the final roster were difficult.”

ussoccer.com: What does the experience of going through CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying do for a player?

JH: “From a developmental view, it is invaluable. It is a competition that presents challenges both on and off the field. It exposes them at the earliest age possible to the demands and difficulties of qualifying for a FIFA World Cup in a CONCACAF event.”

ussoccer.com: What would you most like to see your players get out of this experience?

JH: “Successfully navigating through the demands of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.”

ussoccer.com: How you would compare and describe the selection process for this roster to your past CONCACAF U-17 Championship rosters?

JH: “The selection process is always difficult. But as I mentioned previously, the depth of this particular player pool made it challenging. In addition, we have players based in Europe and several that turned pro (leaving Residency).”

ussoccer.com: Can you speak to the dynamics of this group of players, especially as some of whom were in Residency, but left to sign pro contracts?

JH: “This is a close group of young men. Andrew Carleton and I were speaking about it the other day. We were talking about his experiences and adjustments in becoming a pro with Atlanta United, then returning here and integrating with the guys in Residency.  He said, ‘Coach, these are my boys. I love these guys.’  Enough said.”

ussoccer.com: What is the goal and mindset for the next several days before facing Jamaica?

JH: “To ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for that opening match vs. Jamaica. We played them in the fall and know that they are a talented, well-coached team. At the same time, we need to trust in our preparation and feel confident that the planning and work that we have put in will allow us to be ready for that first Group C match.”

ussoccer.com: Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin (both Atlanta United FC) are the three professional players on the team. What are you hoping they bring the squad for this tournament?

 JH: “Our hope is that they have matured and can bring elements of the experiences they have gained that will make our team even stronger.”

ussoccer.com: Is there any sense with the team that this tournament will be unique with Residency closing this spring?

JH: “We understand that this group will be the last to have gone through Residency prior to competing in World Cup Qualifying. I believe that each and every one of us, players & staff, is extremely proud of that fact. However, our mindset is to focus completely on the task of attempting to qualify for the World Cup in India. We certainly won’t be sentimental in our focus.”

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U-17 MNT Apr 17, 2017

Hackworth Names 20-Player Roster for 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

CHICAGO (April 17, 2017) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth has named the 20-player roster that will compete in the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, running from April 21-May 7 in Panama. The confederation championship doubles as the qualifying tournament for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be played Oct. 6-28 in India.

The USA has been drawn into Group C along with Jamaica, Mexico and El Salvador. The U-17 MNT opens against Jamaica on Sunday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by Mexico on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. ET and El Salvador on Saturday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m. ET. All three of the USA’s matches will be streamed live on the CONCACAF Facebook page. Fans can also follow the action on Twitter at @ussoccer_ynt.

“Our team is looking forward to this competition and the opportunity to compete for a chance to participate in the FIFA U-17 World Cup this fall in India,” Hackworth said. “The depth of the player pool in this age group is as good as we have ever seen. Thus, our decisions in selecting the final roster were difficult.”

The U.S. roster includes four players who signed Homegrown player contracts with Major League Soccer in 2016: midfielders Chris Durkin (D.C. United) and Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC), and forwards Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United F.C.) and Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas).

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (Benfica; Philadelphia, Pa.), Justin Garces (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.)

DEFENDERS (5): Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.), Akil Watts (IMG Academy; Fort Wayne, Ind.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake AZ; Eden, Utah), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Christopher Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.), Adrian Villegas (Portland Timbers; Hood River, Ore.)

FORWARDS (6): Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Zyen Jones (Atlanta United FC; Clarkston, Ga.), Bryan Reynolds, Jr. (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.) Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain; Rosedale, N.Y.)

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U-17 MNT Apr 17, 2017

USA Drawn into Group C for 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama

CHICAGO (Dec. 13, 2016) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has been drawn with Mexico, El Salvador and Jamaica into Group C of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The draw occurred Tuesday evening in Panama City, Panama, with the qualifying tournament for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup set to take place from April 21–May 7, 2017, at the Maracana and Rommel Fernandez stadiums in Panama City.

The U.S. opens the group stage against Jamaica (April 23), followed by Mexico (April 26) before finishing up against El Salvador (April 29).

“It’s a tough draw, but I think our team is determined to be able to represent our country in a World Cup,” U.S. U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth said. “We are going to plan accordingly for three very tough opponents to start the tournament. We will get ready to make sure that we are prepared for everything anyone can throw at us.”

The CONCACAF U-17 Championship format features three groups of four teams. As host, Panama was seeded at the top of one of the three groups, while Costa Rica and Mexico were also assigned as the remaining two seeds. Mexico earns its seed as the current CONCACAF champion, while Costa Rica’s seed came as the result of being the best-placed CONCACAF team from the last edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, excluding the regional champion and host.

The top two teams in each of the three groups will advance to the Classification Stage, which features two groups (D and E) of three teams each. In the Classification Stage, the top two finishers from each group will qualify for the U-17 World Cup to be played from Oct 6-28 in India. Additionally, the first-place teams from Groups D and E will play for the 2017 CONCACAF championship.

USA’s Group C Schedule:

  • Sunday, April 23 vs. Jamaica – 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Wednesday, April 26 vs. Mexico – 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Saturday, April 29 vs. El Salvador – 11:30 a.m. ET

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Groups:

  • Group A: Panama, Honduras, Curacao, Haiti
  • Group B: Costa Rica, Canada, Cuba, Suriname
  • Group C: Mexico, El Salvador, Jamaica, United States 

The U.S. finished tied for third with Costa Rica at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras, while Mexico and Honduras finished first and second, respectively. In the 2015 playoff stage, the USA defeated Jamaica 5-4 on penalties to clinch CONCACAF’s fourth and final automatic qualifying spot for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, where the U.S. lost to eventual champions Nigeria in the group stage before failing to advance to the knockout stage.

Since the FIFA U-17 World Cup (previously known as the FIFA U-17 World Youth Championship and the FIFA U-16 World Championship) was founded in 1985, the U.S. has qualified for 15 of 16 tournaments, with their best finish coming in a fourth-place performance at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand.

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U-17 MNT Dec 13, 2016

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

U-17 MNT April 21, 2017 - May 7, 2017