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USA Downs Cuba 6-1 to Advance to Olympic Qualifying Championship Semifinal

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Oct. 3, 2015) - The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship with a 6-1 win against Cuba in Group A play at Sporting Park. 

Jerome Kiesewetter continued his fantastic form for the USA, scoring two goals to lead the way offensively for the Stars and Stripes. Center back partners Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga opened the scoring with a goal apiece and the U.S. then got strikes from Emerson Hyndman and Alonso Hernandez to go up 6-0. Cuba added a consolation goal in stoppage time. 

The USA next plays Panama at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on Oct. 6 to round out group play. A win or draw against Panama would guarantee the U.S. top spot in Group A. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on NBC Universo. A full Match Report will be available shortly.

Klinsmann Calls 23 Players for Epic CONCACAF Cup Clash with Rival Mexico

CHICAGO (Oct. 3, 2015) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named the 23-player roster for the winner-take-all CONCACAF Cup against Mexico, which grants the victor a spot in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

The match will kick off Saturday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports GO, Univision and the Univision Deportes Network.

“This roster is obviously full of experience,” said Klinsmann. “This is about having a group of players who understand exactly now what this is all about. This is about momentum. This is about high energy. This is about representing my country. This is about belief and a high-level of aggressiveness in a one-off game to beat Mexico and to get to the Confederations Cup. It’s a unique opportunity, and you have to embrace it and give everything you have.”

The U.S. roster is loaded with experience, including seven players with 50 or more caps and four - DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard – that have surpassed 100 appearances for the United States. A total of 16 players in this group were a part of the USA’s 2014 World Cup roster.

The match is a faceoff between the region’s fiercest rivals. In a series dating back to 1934, the U.S. has taken the momentum in recent years. The MNT has dominated at home, amassing a 10-2-4 record on U.S. soil against El Tri since 2000. Additionally, the United States is unbeaten in the last four years with a 3-0-3 record, including the team’s first victory against Mexico on Mexican soil.

The teams most recently met in April in San Antonio, where the U.S. triumphed 2-0, a score line that has highlighted nine MNT victories against Mexico since 2000. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will look to extend his lifetime unbeaten streak as a player and coach against Mexico to 11 games (5-0-5 all-time).

The USA’s place in the playoff was secured when it won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Mexico won the 2015 edition of the tournament and in so doing qualified for the playoff.

U.S. Roster By Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

U.S. Roster Notes

  • Jozy Altidore has appeared in nine games for the MNT this year. The forward scored a pair in the team’s 2-1 win against Peru in September, which was the fourth multi-goal game of his international career. With four goals in 2015, he is now just one goal behind Brain McBride (30) for fourth on the MNT’s all-time goal-scoring list.
  • Clint Dempsey led the way for the U.S. at this summer’s Gold Cup where he won the Golden Boot; his seven goals are the most scored by an American player in a single Gold Cup in the 13 editions of the tournament. The Seattle Sounders FC forward has nine goals in nine games this year, and holds second place on the USA’s all-time scoring list with 48 total.
  • DaMarcus Beasley is the leading capwinner on the roster with 122 international appearances. He has scored 17 goals, including the clincher in the USA’s 2-0 win in the World Cup qualifier against Mexico in 2005 that secured the team’s place in the 2006 World Cup.
  • Michael[MK1]  Bradley moved over the 100-cap mark this year. The midfielder has punched in three goals while recording five assists in 2015. Bradley has the most goals against Mexico (3) of any U.S. player on the roster, including both in the USA’s 2-0 win against El Tri in February of 2009 that opened the final round of 2010 World Cup Qualifying.
  • Brad Guzan earned Golden Glove honors as the top goalkeeper at this summer’s Gold Cup and has posted a 9-3-3 record since September of last year. Guzan shut down Mexico and helped the U.S. earn a 0-0 draw in its away World Cup Qualifier with El Tri in 2013 at Estadio Azteca.
  • Alejandro Bedoya has seven matches under his belt for the United States this year. The French Ligue 1 midfielder tallied an assist in the USA’s 1-1 draw against Panama in the Group Stage of the Gold Cup.
  • Fabian Johnson is only the player on the U.S. roster currently competing in the UEFA Champions League. He has started four straight matches for Borussia Monchengladbach after being out five weeks due to injury, and scored a goal in his first match back.
  • Jermaine Jones has also been on the road to recovery, making his return from injury for the USA in September in starts against Peru and Brazil.
  • Gyasi Zardes was called in for his first MNT camp last January and has appeared in 15 games, starting in 13. The LA Galaxy forward has scored twice and assisted on four goals.
  • Kyle Beckerman has appeared in eight matches with the MNT this season and has recorded six starts. Beckerman started and contributed to the USA’s 2-0 win against Mexico in April.
  • Danny Williams closed the Brazil game off on a high note, scoring a stunning long-range goal to put the USA on the scoreboard. Williams also scored a clutch goal that helped the U.S. knock off then sixth-ranked Netherlands in Amsterdam earlier in the year.
  • Matt Besler returned to the MNT fold last month, making his first appearance since February in the match against Peru. In just his second appearance for the United States, Besler earned a start in the MNT’s 2013 road World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Estadio Azteca, where the U.S. earned a point for only the second time in team history.
  • Michael Orozco started against Peru and Brazil in September, taking up both the right back spot and then centerback. Orozco – who moved to Club Tijuana this summer - owns a piece of history as the scorer of the game-winning goal in 2012 that led to the USA’s first victory at the Azteca.
  • Ventura Alvarado has appeared in 12 matches this year. The Club America defender made his debut in a U.S. uniform on March 25 against Denmark, and he became cap-tied to the U.S. after starting in the first match of the Gold Cup against Honduras on July 7.
  • Geoff Cameron has started and played 90 minutes in all of Stoke City’s 2015 Premier League matches. Cameron returned to action for the U.S. after last appearing in 2014 in its last camp and made appearances against both Peru and Brazil.
  • Brad Evans has played in six games this year, coming on as a late sub in the MNT’s 2-0 win against Mexico in April.
  • Tim Ream, who recently completed a transfer to Fulham, earned honors as the Player of the Year for his former club Bolton in each of the last two seasons. Ream has started in the last three MNT matches.
  • Nick Rimando is back in the mix after missing the September matches. The MLS All-Star has started five games in goal for the MNT this year.
  • Jonathan Spector returns to the squad after being a late add to the roster for the Peru and Brazil friendlies.
  • Chris Wondolowski is one of the top five scorers in MLS this year with 15 goals. He has scored double-digit goals in six straight MLS seasons.
  • DeAndre Yedlin has appeared in 15 of the 16 MNT matches in 2015 and tallied three assists, which puts him third on the team behind Michael Bradley (five) and Gyasi Zardes (four).

Q&A: Klinsmann “It’s a unique opportunity for every player to really write a piece of history." This game is unique in that the U.S. has never played in a one-off final before, and you face your biggest rival to boot. How much did experience factor into your choices for the roster?
JK: “Well eventually what happened in the Gold Cup this summer turned now into this CONCACAF Cup final. It’s a one-off, and a one-off always has its own dynamics and that’s why you need a roster of 23 guys where you really feel as a coach that in this one specific opportunity that they are the right ones to get the job done. That’s why this roster is obviously full of experience. There are a lot of players that experienced different challenges over their careers and managed them and bring now their experience into this one-off clash against Mexico. That’s why you look for players - like a DaMarcus Beasley, a Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondoloski - these types of players that have done so much for the National Team program that they understand exactly now what this is all about. This is about momentum. This is about high energy. This is about belief and a high-level of aggressiveness in a one-off game to beat Mexico and to get to the Confederations Cup.” What is the approach you want this group of players to take?
JK: “When you look at a one-off game, it’s a final. It’s a trophy. It’s an opportunity that will not come back to you anymore in your career. You need players that really now embrace that moment and say ‘shoot, whatever happened has happened in the Gold Cup.’ Whether or not it was controversial, it’s in the past. Now it’s about winning a trophy. It’s about in 90 or possibly 120 minutes in front of a sold-out Rose Bowl crowd of 90,000. It’s about performing. It’s about representing my country. It will stay with you for the rest of your life. They can be excited about it and always look back and say I was there that special day. You want them to understand that from the first second they come on in camp. This is the CONCACAF Cup. This is the ticket to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. It’s a unique opportunity.” Team spirit is always an important element to success, but you’ve stressed that for this game it’s even more critical. Why?
JK: “I think team unity, chemistry, the atmosphere between the players, the bonding, is huge in this game. It’s probably one of the key factors in order to win. It’s that they are there for each other. They understand that this is not about me, this is about the United States, this is about representing my country and this is about winning a trophy with my teammates. I think the word chemistry is huge approaching that Mexico game.” There are some familiar names not on the list that weren’t able to beat the race to return to fitness … 
JK: “Obviously it’s a specific moment now, and in that moment John Brooks is not 100 percent. Aron Johannsson is not 100 percent. Greg Garza actually had surgery a few weeks ago. There are always players that you’d love to have be a part of games like this that are just not there. It’s unfortunate for them, but it is reality.” What is the message to the players who didn’t make the final roster?
JK: “Every time you have to cut down a roster like now from 35 to 23, there are some players that do not make it and it looks like they are not good enough, which is not the case. The competition is very, very tight. Not having Omar Gonzalez or Mix Diskerud on this roster, for example, is not because they are not good enough, it’s just because you see another player that is better in their position right now in this specific moment. Those are always tough decisions that a coach has to make, and we believe everyone in that roster will get the job done and the other ones are there to support. They also need to be ready still because they are on standby in case someone goes down in training and they get the call.” Did the team that you expect Mexico to bring have any impact on your roster selections?
JK: “We’re looking at their roster and their qualities and we think we know a way of getting the job done, but it doesn’t really have too much impact on our selection of players. I think our selection of players is based on our strengths, based on how we want to play the game, based on how much in the flow in a rhythm they are right now. Everyone’s in a different situation. The players in Europe are in a different situation. The players in MLS are in a different situation and the players that play down in Mexico. For us coaches, it’s always kind of a new picture opening up and deciding what is best now for the National Team in order to win a game.”
JK: “I think this new rule now from CONCACAF to have the winner from the Gold Cup against another winner of the next Gold Cup, which if not the same team ends in a one-off final, gives it a very special spice. It’s huge, especially if it ends with the U.S. playing Mexico. It can’t get any bigger in our region. I would love to play that game in Azteca Stadium. That would be even more exciting, but the decision is made. The game is at Pasadena. We know that many Mexican fans will be at the stadium as well. It will be rock. It will be a special atmosphere. It will be high intensity from the first second of that game. This is what you’re hoping to experience as a coach, as a player, as a fan. You want to go into these very unique games and experience it and really enjoy that moment. This will be a game that for the next two or three years to come is probably the biggest game because it decides who goes to Russia in 2017 and it gives you a CONCACAF title, so it’s difficult to beat the importance of that one.” For both players and coaches, the chance to play for a trophy is always special. What makes this game different?
JK: “It’s a unique opportunity for every player to really write a piece of history. How often do you play in a CONCACAF final against your biggest rival that people will talk about for a long time? Obviously Mexico won in 2011 at the Rose Bowl and it was a big bummer for the whole team and the whole program, but these moments are remembered and I think when you have that opportunity now in front of you, you can set the tone and you can write this little piece of history that a lot of people will talk about for a long time. You’ve got to grab that moment. You’ve got to come into camp and say ‘let’s do it’. I think the team is more than ready. There’s a lot of frustration after what happened in the Gold Cup. There’s no doubt about it. The only controversial stuff that was said and done is behind us. It is now a final and you have to go in there and just embrace it and give everything you have. If they give everything they have, then I’m pretty confident that we’ll come out as the winning team.” There are quite a few veterans in the group that have seen a lot at the international level. Do you see this as a different opportunity for them?
JK: “I think it’s really an interesting moment now because you have a core group of players that are kind of running out of time and I just want them to just embrace that moment. We’re going to play for a trophy. We’re going to play for a trip to Russia in 2017, and maybe you’re not there anymore for that because you are now 32 or 33. We have players on our roster that have done so much for the National Team program, but that are also not getting any younger. All these guys in their thirties, they need to realize ‘you know what, I’m may not be getting these opportunities any more. This is it. We better take that trophy.’ However it looks like, we’ve got to go and get this thing. This is really about chemistry and getting the group together and making it a really special atmosphere the whole week leading into the Rose Bowl moment.” The rivalry with Mexico in some ways is a legacy passed down to each generation of players, particularly from those who were able to help turn the table and establish the USA’s dominance at home. Is there a “responsibility” to beat Mexico?
JK: “USA-Mexico is a unique situation, and it’s comparable for me as a German to when you play Holland. The whole country rocks. For me, it was interesting over time to learn how much this rivalry really means to the people that really love soccer, whether it’s the coaches, the fans, the kids, or the players. When we beat them the first time at the Azteca stadium three years ago, for me it was not as big a deal. Yes, it was big that we won there and we’d also won in Italy and now in Germany, and those are always something special. But the response that I received from a lot of people in the U.S. after that win in Azteca was so different. It showed me then - and it was a learning curve for me as a coach - how much it really means to the people to beat Mexico, to have this rivalry going in a healthy way, in a respectful way. There’s a lot of admiration there for the Mexican soccer team and the players because the people love that sport. It’s their number one sport. I think in a certain way, do we have that responsibility to our fans? Yes. Are we accountable for what happens at the Rose Bowl? Absolutely we are, and obviously the players that were on the field for that CONCACAF Gold Cup final that we lost 4-2 - the Michael Bradley’s, the Tim Howard’s, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey - there is something in them that is still burning. There is so much energy now being generated towards that game, it is just awesome. I want the players to enjoy that and to just grab that moment and get the trophy.”  At the same time the Senior Team has the clash with Mexico, the U-23s are attempting to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. How big a week is this for U.S. Soccer?
JK: “I think it can’t get any bigger than the next 10 days for soccer in our country on the men’s side. The Olympic team starting the qualification for Rio de Janeiro is huge. This is big for everyone. We’re going to give them all of the support we can, and hopefully the fans come out in numbers to all the venues they play in and give them big, big support because that is what they need to help them to qualify for the Olympics. At the same time, we play the clash with Mexico which decides who goes to the 2017 Confederations Cup. So, within the next 10 days it doesn’t get any bigger. The senior team is going to watch the Olympic Qualifying games and cheer for them. We know they’re going to play the decisive semifinal on Oct. 10 before we play Mexico that evening, and they’re going to sit in front of the TV that night and they’re going to scream for us. We are there for each other.”

Pilot of Progress: Keller's Hall of Fame Career Pioneers Professional Ground for American Players

One of three 2015 inductees to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Kasey Keller has long been referred to as a pioneer for American players in Europe. At just 22-years-old and without a professional domestic league in the United States, Keller went across the Atlantic to sign for English First Division club Millwall in 1992.

He had no idea about the career longevity he’d have playing abroad.

“I remember going over to Europe and thinking, ‘Oh man, if I could play five seasons, if I could play 10 seasons,’ and then ending up playing 17 years,” Keller told earlier this year.

A product of the University of Portland, Keller’s European club adventure took him from east London to Leicester City, Spain’s Rayo Vallecano, Tottenham Hotspur, Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach, Fulham and even a short stint with Southampton. Seven clubs in three of the world’s top leagues and from the beginning, he did it while on an American passport.

Over time, Keller became a guide to fellow Americans interested in his advice for a potential move abroad.

“By the time I’d met him, he’d already been in England for so long,” said former U.S. international Eddie Lewis. “As a player that was older than me, both from an age and experience standpoint, having been abroad for so long, I often asked him many questions about Europe and particularly about England. As a young player coming into the National Team, I wanted to go overseas and I used him as a sounding board on many occasions.”

And while he spent 17 of his 20 professional seasons an ocean away, his devotion to playing for his country never wavered.

At the National Team level, I very rarely had a player like Kasey that never refused a call up,” said former Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena. “Kasey would travel and play for the U.S. whenever – he was very dedicated to the National Team program.”

Keller’s international career really began before his club career at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championships in Saudi Arabia. Playing at the University of Portland at the time, Keller won the Silver Ball at the tournament after helping the U.S. U-20 side to a fourth place finish.

Keller as an up-and-coming goalkeeper with the U.S. U-20 MNT.

Just a year later, the 20-year-old earned his first of 102 caps for the Men’s National Team. That summer he was named to the first U.S. World Cup team since 1950, pushing but eventually backing up Tony Meola as a young U.S. squad went three-and-out in Italy. 

With a wealth of talented goalkeepers, Keller’s early competition with Meola was only the beginning of a battle for the number one spot on the U.S. team. 

“I know when I first came on the international scene, Tony Meola was the number one goalkeeper and that’s who Kasey and I were trying to knock off the perch,” said fellow goalkeeper Brad Friedel. “Even from my college time, it was myself and Kasey – we were in the Olympic team together battling out to see who would play in ’92 in Barcelona.”

Though Friedel won that battle and Keller was left off the U.S. team altogether in 1994, his competition with Friedel would really heat up the following year as the two often split goalkeeping duties in important matches the next eight years. Both put in key performances in big matches along the way -- Keller’s wins against Chile and Argentina at Copa America ‘95, his form in World Cup qualifying and ultimately, his 10-save effort in the U.S. team’s 1-0 win against Brazil in the 1998 Gold Cup semifinal gave him the starting nod at that summer’s World Cup in France.

Highlights: Morris, Gil Power USA Past Canada in Olympic Qualifying

Two goals from Jordan Morris and an insurance strike from the penalty spot by Luis led the USA to open qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games with a 3-1 victory over Canada.

Richie Williams Names 21-Player Roster for FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile

CHICAGO (Oct. 2, 2015) - U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which runs from Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in Chile.

“I think it’s a pretty well-rounded roster,” said Williams. “When you look over the two-plus years we’ve been together, we’ve had the ability to push forward and score goals with a lot of talented attacking players, but also on the defensive end we’ve had a lot of great games where we’ve defended well. We were able to play a good amount of international matches and domestic matches, and we hope through all of those experiences we have a really balanced team of 21 players that comes together and gets positive results.”

The U-17’s were drawn into Group A with host Chile, Croatia and Nigeria and open group play against Nigeria on Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. ET in Santiago. The team will then square off with Croatia on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar and Chile on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar.

Nineteen players on the roster were a part of the Under-17 team that defeated Jamaica in penalty kicks in March to qualify the USA for the World Cup and 20 are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

The team will bring along nine of its goal scorers from 2015 to Chile: Hugo Arellano, Pierre da Silva, Luca de la Torre, Joe Gallardo, Josh Perez, Christian Pulisic, Brandon Vazquez, Haji Wright and Alejandro Zendejas. Perez leads the way with six goals this year.

The World Cup will be played in eight cities in Chile: Chillan, Concepcion, Coquimbo, La Serena, Puerto Montt, Santiago/Nunoa, Talca, and Vina Del Mar. The championship and third place matches take place Sunday, Nov. 8, at the 24,000-capacity Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar.

A total of 24 countries participate in the tournament. The top two teams in each group, as well as the best four third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16 on October 28 and 29.

In its last U-17 World Cup appearance in 2011, the USA was drawn into Group D where it finished in second place (1-1-1) ahead of New Zealand and the Czech Republic, and behind Uzbekistan. The MNT faced off with Germany in the Round of 16, falling 4-0 to the eventual third-place finisher.

The U.S. qualified for the U-17 World Cup with a third-place finish at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in March. After winning its group with a 3-1-1 record, the U.S. clinched its spot in Chile by defeating Jamaica 5-4 in penalty kicks.

This is the 15th occasion that the USA has advanced to a FIFA World Youth Championship or World Cup at this age group. The USA’s best performance was a fourth-place finish at the FIFA U-17 World Youth Championship in 1999 that included wins against Uruguay and Mexico. The U.S. nearly reached the final, falling in a penalty kick shootout to Australia in the semifinal.

Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3):  Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (8): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.),Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Penn.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham F.C. San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Tex.)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (C.F. Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)

Roster Notes:

  • Nineteen of the 21 players on the roster were born in 1998, with Tyler Adams and Eric Lopez the couple players born in 1999
  • Twenty players on the roster are products of the Development Academy: Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy),Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Barbir (Players Development Academy), Calvillo(Real So Cal), da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy), de la Torre (Nomads SC & San Diego Surf), Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ),Gallardo (Nomads SC), Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy), McCabe(Players Development Academy), Nelson(Internationals), Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Perez (Chivas USA),C. Pulisic (PA Classics), W. Pulisic (Richmond United), Silva(Players Development Academy), Trusty(Philadelphia Union), Velela (San Diego Surf), Wright (LA Galaxy Academy),Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy).
  • Nineteen players on this roster were a part of the U-17 team that defeated Jamaica in Penalty Kicks in March to qualify for the World Cup.
  • William Pulisic started as the goalkeeper in every match for the U-17’s in the CONCACAF Championship
  • Arellano, Da Silva, de la Torre, Gallardo, Perez, Christian Pulisic, Vazquez, Wright and Zendejas have each tallied goals with the U-17’s this year. Perez leads the way having scored six times in 2015.

Q&A: Richie Williams on U-17 MNT World Cup and the Make-up of the Squad How do you feel about this roster you were able to assemble?
Richie Williams:
“I think it’s a pretty well-rounded roster. When you look over the two-plus years we’ve been together, we’ve had the ability to push forward and score goals with a lot of talented attacking players, but also on the defensive end we’ve had a lot of great games where we’ve defended well. We were able to play a good amount of international matches and domestic matches and we hope through all of those experiences we have a really balanced team of 21 players that comes together and gets positive results.” Were there difficult decisions that had to be made to get to a 21-player roster?
RW: “There’s always difficult decisions to be made. There are guys that have been with us the whole time here at residency and didn’t make the roster. It’s difficult because they’re 16 and 17-years-old and they put a lot into it and worked extremely hard. To leave players off the roster is definitely always difficult, but I think we had a very fair process and we had the ability through these two years to play many international matches. Everyone has been able to start in international matches, come off the bench and have opportunities to play through training and through games. I think we came up with a really talented and strong group that we think will do really well for us.” Are there certain qualities that, with your experience, you know are important that players have to be successful in a World Cup?
RW: “I think you need a group of guys that are willing to compete. For as talented as you are, I think you need to be able to get out there and compete and play as a team. You need players that are willing to play their role and do what it takes for the team to be successful and that’s not always the guys scoring goals or keeping the goals out of the back of the net, but willing to do whatever it takes to get positive results. Whether you’re starting or coming off the bench, you’re there for the team and I think in any major tournament, with a team in any sport, you’ve got to be competitive and willing to give your best for the team and that’s ultimately the end product to win the World Cup as a team.” The team will play in the opening game of the tournament against Nigeria. Is it a challenge playing in the first game?
RW: “I think it’s a great challenge and I think the guys will be excited. It’s a great opportunity to compete against the champions of the last World Cup and I think our guys are going to have a lot of energy, they’re going to be excited and they’re going to be ready to play, so we’re looking forward to it. I think every World Cup game is important. You can’t say one is any more important than the other. You can’t overlook any team. It’s a World Cup game and everybody’s got to be ready to go. Whether you think they’re the strongest opponent or the weakest opponent, it’s the World Cup and all the games are very important and very competitive and anything could happen, especially if you’re not ready to play.” In group play you will also go up against the host, Chile. What challenges does playing against the host nation present?
RW: “We’ve played them before. We played them in Chile and drew them 2-2. It was a good game and we had more opportunities to score that we didn’t take and we made a couple of errors on defense, but I think we played very well against Chile. We have experience against them, we’re familiar with them and I’m sure they’ve developed like we have and gotten better so we have to be ready. I think games against the host can work in two ways. They’re going to come out with energy so we have to be ready to match their energy, they’ll have the crowd behind them and it’ll be the third group game so there could be a lot on the line and we have to make sure we’re ready to go and be able to absorb their energy from the beginning. But I think also sometimes it can, especially with young players, potentially work the opposite where they could be really excited and feel a little bit of pressure because they’re playing at home and are expected to do well and if that’s the case we have to take advantage of that to and potentially pressure them and get after them right from the beginning of the game.” Was it helpful to have played against Chile in Chile a year ago?
RW: “I believe so. We’re familiar with the country, even though we’ll be in different cities. We’ve taken the flight from Miami and we have the same travel plan. Just being there the year before, I think it helps and definitely benefits us.” Have the last two years prepared the group for the challenge ahead?
RW: “I believe so. I think we have an experienced team and I think we have enough games. We’ve traveled to different parts of the world and we’ve had games here in the United States and we’ve been able to play different teams from different parts of the world. Again, for me, that Chile game that we were able to play was important. We were able to play Turkey in Turkey, France in France, the list goes on. I think we’ve given our guys a ton of experiences through International matches and again in our training here in Residency over the last two years we’ve been able to look at players. We’ve had some that were right with us in the beginning. We’ve had some that have been added over time, because we know over time with development, things change and guys are going to step up and do a little bit better and some guys might fall off, but I think the process has given them a huge opportunity. It’s really going to benefit them. I think U.S. Soccer has done a really good job of being able to give them these opportunities to play domestic and international games to get them ready for the World Cup.” What is the team’s schedule between now and the start of the World Cup?
RW: “We will play South Korea twice in the next week (in Bradenton). They are a World Cup team, so it’s another great preparation opportunity for us, and we didn’t want to go too long without playing 90 minutes against an opponent. We’ll do an intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 9, and then we take off two days later for Chile. We’ll have four good days of training there before we open up against Nigeria.” When you informed the 21 players who would be going to Chile, what was your message to them?
RW: “First of all to say congratulations and that they should be proud of the fact that they have made the final roster and will get to represent the United States. We started this process two years ago and want to finish in a very positive way. We still have a couple weeks to train and focus on all the little details, and they need to focus and get ready.” With almost three weeks to go before the tournament, why the decision to tell them team now?
RW: “We thought a lot about the timing. Things are a bit different here with Residency, because the guys didn’t make the final roster will still continue to train and stay in school, so we wanted to give them a chance to be prepared. Obviously they are disappointed, but we also want them to understand that this is only the beginning for them. Not making the World Cup roster doesn’t mean the end, and they will still have opportunities to come. For the guys going, we wanted to let them know now so everyone can start focusing. It’s been a great two years of building camaraderie and chemistry, now the focus needs to shift on the 21 guys that are going to Chile. As a player when you know you are on the list and who is going to be there with you, things get even more locked in as a unit. We can speak with guys individually so they know exactly what roles they are going to play, and make sure everybody knows the expectations and that they are ready to go.” There are two players on the roster – Luca de la Torre and Danny Barbir – who have never been in Residency and others who have moved on to professional clubs. How were you able to monitor them and keep them integrated in the group?
RW: “Luca and Danny started with our U-15’s so they knew the group, and we have been able to keep them in involved from day one in terms of  participating in the majority of domestic and international trips.  We also monitor them through updates from their clubs.  Other guys were here for a year and then signed with professional clubs, which has been a great experience for them. Being around older professionals has helped them mature and develop as players. You can see they are growing, and that’s a positive.”

USA Opens Olympic Qualifying with Confident 3-1 Win against Canada

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Oct. 1, 2015) - The U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team, led by a pair of goals from Jordan Morris and a late penalty kick conversion by Luis Gil, started its run in the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship with a 3-1 win against Canada at Sporting Park.

Morris found the net before Canada could even touch the ball, punching in the opening goal before a minute of soccer had even been played.

The U.S. was dominant offensively and defensively and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. It was more of the same when the team came out in the second frame, with Morris cashing in another goal in the 73rd minute.

The U.S. defense was finally beat in the 81st minute when Canada scored off a corner kick to pull within one, but the U.S closed the game out on a high note with Luis Gil slotting home a penalty to ice the match in stoppage time.

It will be a quick turnaround for the team, which plays its second game against Cuba, at Sporting Park on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on Telemundo and fans can follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA– Jordan Morris (Jerome Kiesewetter), 1st minute: 
Matt Polster laid a ball forward to Kiesewetter, who picked it up and accelerated down the right side. As the defense closed in he looked up and found Morris breaking for the goal. Kiesewetter bent in a firm cross that flew just past the 'keeper and found Morris who headed it in to give the U.S. the lead. USA 1, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

USA– Jordan Morris (Wil Trapp), 73rd minute: Morris' second goal started at the feet of the captain, Wil Trapp. Trapp intercepted a pass in midfield and launched a high, arching ball from the back to Morris, who muscled past his defender and beat the charging ‘keeper with a tidy shot that found the lower right corner. USA 2, CAN 0 SEE GOAL

CAN– Michael Petrasso (Christopher Mannella), 81st minute: Canada finally beat the U.S. defense for a goal, which came from a Mannella corner kick. He bent a sharp, curling ball into the box near the front post of goal. An unmarked Petrasso jumped and skimmed it with his head which deflected the shot in at the far post for Canada's lone goal of the game. USA 2, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

USA– Luis Gil (penalty kick), 90+2 minute: While he wouldn't earn an assist, it was Kiesewetter that set up the third goal for the USA. The striker made a quick move to get into the box and added another quick cut that cause his defender to foul him. Gil then confidently stepped up and sent a low powerful strike from the spot into the right corner. USA 3, CAN 1 SEE GOAL

Additional Notes:

  • Jordan Morris has now scored five goals with the U-23’s this year.
  • Luis Gil, who has recorded four assists with the U-23’s this year, scored his first goal of 2015 tonight.
  • The assist was Jerome Kiesewetter’s first with the U-23’s.
  • Wil Trapp earned the start as the team’s captain and tallied his first assist of the year.

Sporting KC Celebrates Another U.S. Open Cup Title

Sporting Kansas City's ceremony to receive its trophy after winning the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in penalties against Philadelphia Union.

Melia, Quintilla Penalty Kick Heroics Deliver Open Cup Crown to SKC

Andrew Wenger and Jordi Quintilla stepped up to the spot with chance to win the Open Cup for their respective squads.


Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
February 7, 2014 U-18 MNT vs Canary Islands Under-18 Men 2-3 L Estadio Municipal Maspalomas; San Bartolome de Tirajana, Spain 200 Winn, Rubin
February 5, 2014 U-18 MNT vs Argentina Under-20 Men 0-1 L Estadio Municipal Maspalomas; San Bartolome de Tirajana, Spain 200
February 4, 2014 U-18 MNT vs Spain Under-18 Men 0-1 L Estadio Municipal Maspalomas; San Bartolome de Tirajana, Spain 200