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U-17 MNT Splits Two-Game Set with Panama

BRADENTON, Florida (Feb. 5, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team faced Panama’s U-17s and split the two-game set over a three-day stretch at IMG Academy.

The USA defeated Panama 2-0 on Monday, Feb. 2, with Christian Pulisic scoring a 42nd-minute penalty kick goal. Josh Perez padded the lead with a tally off of a Joe Gallardo assist in the 83rd minute.

In the rematch on Wednesday, Feb. 4, the USA and Panama were scoreless through nearly the entire match. However, Panama’s Jose Rodriguez scored in the 89th minute and Cesar Blackman added a goal in the third minute of stoppage time to grab the 2-0 victory.

The U-17 MNT is gearing up for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The USA opens Group A play against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, at San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Four teams from the tournament will directly qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

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

Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team (98-99) vs. Panama
Date: Feb. 2, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: IMG Academy
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Weather: 65 degrees

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

USA – Christian Pulisic (penalty)     42th minute
USA – Josh Perez (Joe Gallardo)      83

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 3-John Nelson, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 4-Alexis Velela, 2-Matt Olosunde; 6-Eric Calvillo (Tommy McCabe, 77), 8-Tyler Adams, 10-Christian Pulisic; 11-Josh Perez, 9-Alex Zendejas (Joe Gallardo, 70), 7-Haji Wright (McKinze Gaines, 86)
Subs Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Logan Panchot, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 18-Pierre Da Silva
Head Coach: Richie Williams

PAN: 12-Samuel Baptista; 16-Andres Andrade, 10-Cesar Blackman, 7-Emanual Chanis, 13-John Bustos; 11-Carlos Kirton, 3-Luis Arias, 5-Damaso Santis (22-Jhimar Macias, 83); 8-Chamell Asprilla, 19-Ronaldo Cordoba, 18-Jose Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: 1-Marcos Melendez, 2-Leandro Avila, 4-Giandemir Jaen, 6-Carrasquilla Aldalberto, 9-Randolph Ramos, 14-Jorge Gutierres, 15-George Picart, 17-Karim Nelson, 20-Oliver Beckles

Officials:
Referee: Hassan Belmnahia
Assistant Referee: Miguel Martes
Assistant Referee: Jennesa Gunn
Fourth official: Merrit Guthrie

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

Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team (98-99) vs. Panama
Date: Feb. 4, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: IMG Academy
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Weather: 70 degrees

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

PAN – Jose Rodriquez        89th minute
PAN – Cesar Blackman      93

Lineups:
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 3-Luka Prpa, 4-Tanner Dieterich, 5-Nikkye De Point, 2-Logan Panchot; 6-Tommy McCabe (capt.), 8-George Braima, 10-Keegan Kelly (15-Haji Wright, 59); 11-Pierre Da Silva, 9-Joe Gallardo (Elvir Ibisevic, 68), 7-McKinze Gaines
Subs not used: 12-Eric Lopez,13-Giuseppe Barone, 16-Eric Calvillo, 17-Matthew Constant, 18-Lucas del Rosario, 19-Elijah Rice, 20-Eric Matzelevich
Head Coach: Richie Williams

PAN:
1-Marcos Melendez; 14-Jorge Gutierres, 10-Cesar Blackman (capt.), 7-Emanuel Chanis, 9-Randolph Ramos (18-Jose Rodriguez, 46); 17-Kevin Nelson, 4-Giandemir Jean, 15-George Picart (11-Carlos Kirton, 46), 2-Leandro Avila; 22-Jhimar Macias (5-Damaso Santis, 46), 20-Oliver Beckles (19-Ronaldo Cordoba, 69)
Subs not used: 3-Luis Arias, 6-Adalberto Carrasquilla, 8-Chamell Asprilla, 12-Samuel Baptista, 13-John Bustos, 16-Andreas Andrade
Head Coach: Juan Carlos Cubilla

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Nikkyi De Point (caution)      33rd minute
PAN – Damaso Santis (caution)        58
USA – Joe Gallardo (caution)            64
PAN – Cesar Blackman (caution)      66
PAN – Carlos Kirton (caution)          72
PAN – Kevin Nelson (caution)          88
PAN – Emanuel Chanis (caution)      89

Officials:
Head referee: Esteban Rosano
Assistant referee: Abdel Kuttaineh
Assistant referee: Charles Hufham
Fourth official: Hassan Belmnahia

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U-17 MNT Feb 5, 2015

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

Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team (98-99) vs. Panama
Date: Feb. 2, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: IMG Academy
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Weather: 65 degrees

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

USA – Christian Pulisic (penalty)     42th minute
USA – Josh Perez (Joe Gallardo)      83

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 3-John Nelson, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 4-Alexis Velela, 2-Matt Olosunde; 6-Eric Calvillo (Tommy McCabe, 77), 8-Tyler Adams, 10-Christian Pulisic; 11-Josh Perez, 9-Alex Zendejas (Joe Gallardo, 70), 7-Haji Wright (McKinze Gaines, 86)
Subs Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Logan Panchot, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 18-Pierre Da Silva
Head Coach: Richie Williams

PAN: 12-Samuel Baptista; 16-Andres Andrade, 10-Cesar Blackman, 7-Emanual Chanis, 13-John Bustos; 11-Carlos Kirton, 3-Luis Arias, 5-Damaso Santis (22-Jhimar Macias, 83); 8-Chamell Asprilla, 19-Ronaldo Cordoba, 18-Jose Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: 1-Marcos Melendez, 2-Leandro Avila, 4-Giandemir Jaen, 6-Carrasquilla Aldalberto, 9-Randolph Ramos, 14-Jorge Gutierres, 15-George Picart, 17-Karim Nelson, 20-Oliver Beckles

Officials:
Referee: Hassan Belmnahia
Assistant Referee: Miguel Martes
Assistant Referee: Jennesa Gunn
Fourth official: Merrit Guthrie

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Referee to PNT: Greg Brigman Strives to Advance as Player and Official

Greg Brigman became a referee in 2009 to make some extra cash in college. He loved the game, and it seemed more fun than delivering pizzas. The referee job let Brigman stay involved in the sport he grew up with. Along the way, it gave him the opportunity to represent his country.

It was as a referee that Brigman discovered the Paralympic National Team. He has just wrapped up his second year with the team, a tenure that’s included trips to the 2016 Paralympics and this fall’s World Championships.

Brigman’s referee career led him to the PNT. Now it’s raising his game.

“Being a referee absolutely makes you a better player,” Brigman said. “You’re watching all the chess pieces move around. When I come to play, I feel like I’m always in the right place at the right time. You see all the moving pieces at once. As a referee, you have to grasp all those moving pieces, and account for everything.”

Brigman attributes his growth with the PNT to his background as a referee. Not only do referees need to know the Laws of the Game as second nature, they manage the game overall. They see the game differently, it’s critical to analyze information quickly to make the correct call on the fly. As a player, the blinders might be on towards the next objective, but as a referee, a holistic vision is necessary.

“With the PNT, you’re trying to find the next goal, next pass, next tackle,” Brigman said. “As a referee, it’s always managing the environment. You manage what needs to happen. Does this call need to happen? What do the laws say, what do other considerations say? And how does that impact what’s going on in this environment?”

His dedication to the craft has seen him rise through the referee ranks. While he worked high school games to start, he quickly rose to the prep sports pinnacle when he officiated a high school state championship game. He transitioned to ref for the Atlantic Coast Conference in the NCAA and now, just a few years later, has become a regular for professional USL and NWSL matches. Earlier this year, the highlight of his referee career came on the sideline for an international friendly between Atlas of Liga MX and USL’s North Carolina FC.

This month, he officiated at the Development Academy Winter Showcase, an invaluable opportunity to referee high-level youth games and receive feedback from some of the nations’ top referee coaches.

“I just want to keep advancing,” Brigman said. “Keep learning, keep being coachable and keep being around the elite referees in the U.S., learning from each one of them about their unique techniques.”

As Brigman advances as a referee, he’s also seen advancement on the pitch for the PNT. He saw the field at the World Championships, and last summer in Rio he almost knocked in a goal against global power Iran.

In the new year, Brigman hopes to advance in both of his on-field roles. He wants to keep his spot on the pro referee list and continue to grow. With the PNT, he has one goal in mind.  

“I still haven’t scored a goal for the PNT,” Brigman said. “I’ve come close, I’ve hit the post and I just really would like to punch that ticket and be a goal scorer for the U.S.”

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