Five Things to Know About the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship

Presented by Thorne
By: U.S. Soccer

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team kicks off its quest to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup this week at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in Florida. A new tournament format will send four teams to this fall’s U-17 World Cup in Brazil. Here are five things to know about the USA’s chase for a World Cup berth and the confederation title.  


The USA kicks off the competition against Canada on Thursday, May 2, faces Barbados on Saturday, May 4 and wraps up group play against Guatemala on Monday, May 6. All tournament matches will be broadcast on Concacaf Facebook and Univision Deportes Network, and fans can follow all of the action from Florida on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram



Kickoff (ET)



May 2

USA vs. Canada

6 p.m.

Concacaf Facebook, UDN

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

May 4

USA vs. Barbados

6 p.m.

Concacaf Facebook, UDN

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

May 6

USA vs. Guatemala

6 p.m.

Concacaf Facebook, UDN

IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.

Should the U.S. make the knockout round, game dates will be: May 9 (round of 16), May 12 (quarterfinals), May 14 (semifinals) and May 16 (final).


The Concacaf U-17 Championship serves as the region’s championship and qualification tournament for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. Four spots in the 24-team World Cup field are at stake at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The competition’s four semi-finalists advance to this fall’s World Cup.

Twenty teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean compose the tournament field. The top 16 nations in the Concacaf Under-17 Ranking qualified automatically to the tournament proper, while the bottom 19 nations had to qualify in round-robin group competition. Four qualification stage group winners: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico advanced directly to the knockout phase Round of 16.

Next, the top three teams from Groups E, F, G and H compete from May 1-6 in round-robin competition for the right to advance to the Round of 16. From there, it’s a knockout bracket to crown the confederation champion.

Group E

Group F

Group G

Group H




Costa Rica





Trinidad and Tobago


El Salvador






Qualified to Round of 16

Group A


Group B

Dominican Republic

Group C


Group D

Puerto Rico


Appointed in early March, U-17 MNT head coach Raphael Wicky called in a talented 20-player roster for the tournament. Ten players have already logged professional minutes in 2019.

2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-17 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 13/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alta.; 4/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 14/0), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 11/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 2/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 10/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 14/1), 2-Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 14/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 7/2), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 13/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 0/0), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 0/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 17/1)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 0/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 3/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Tacoma Defiance; Kent, Wash.; 14/5), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 6/1), 10-Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 8/1), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 6/3)               

All 20 players on the roster have spent time in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Fourteen clubs are represented on the roster with all but one player coming from domestic-based teams. Midfielder Adam Saldana is the roster’s most-experienced player with 17 U-17 caps, while forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez is the team’s leading international scorer, with five goals.


The U-17s have put together a 9-4-4 record since kicking off the 2018-19 cycle in Dec. 2017. In December, the USA went undefeated at the 2018 Nike International Friendlies. Last year, the team also took home April’s Sportchain Cup in Benicassim, Spain, and conjured two stellar comeback wins against Brazil and Russia in October.

Back with their clubs, a number of players have already made an impact throughout the first few months of the domestic professional season.

Midfielder Gianluca Busio has made waves in the early-going of the MLS season, becoming the first 16-year-old to score in three consecutive regular season games. Forward Ricardo Pepi made a splash in his first two games, scoring a hat trick in his debut and a game-winning penalty in his second appearance for North Texas SC. Midfielder Daniel Leyva has become a mainstay in the midfield for USL Championship side Tacoma Defiance, while forward Griffin Yow scored in his first pro start for Loudon United FC last month.


This year marks the 19th Concacaf championship tournament at this age level and sixth with the competition known as the Concacaf U-17 Championship. The USA has the most all-time finals appearances at the competition with three titles and six runner-up finishes.

The tournament began in 1983 as a U-16 tournament and the USA took home the inaugural confederation title in a penalty kick shootout over Trinidad and Tobago. It switched to a U-17 tournament in 1991, and the U.S. took home its second championship in 1992 on goal differential after victories over Canada and Cuba.

No champion was crowned from 1999 to 2009 due to an alternate format and a tournament canceled prematurely due to swine flu. When the tournament awarded a title again in 2011, the USA took home its most-recent Concacaf championship, downing Canada 3-0 in the final.

In the most recent edition of the competition in 2017, the USA stormed to the final, only to lose to Mexico in a penalty kick shootout.

This year’s competition will be held in Bradenton, Fla., familiar territory in the U-17 MNT’s history and for the current iteration of the team. U.S. Soccer ran a residency program for the U-17 MNT for 18 years at Bradenton’s IMG Academy, while the U-17s compete annually at the Nike International Friendlies, held in nearby Lakewood Ranch. The current U.S. U-17 team has held its last three training camps in the Bradenton area.