Five Things to Know: Nike International Friendlies

The 2016 Nike International Friendlies kick off on Wednesday as the U-17 U.S. MNT plays host to Brazil, Portugal and Turkey in the 16th edition of the tournament at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Here are five things you should know about the event.  

History of the Event
The Nike International Friendlies were established in 2001 to provide top-level competition for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, and evolved into one of the premier annual events on the youth soccer calendar. 

Originally, the U-17 MNT would face mainly U.S.-based club teams with an international opponent sprinkled in. That changed in 2008 when the competition reached its current four-team, round robin international format.

Over the years, the U-17 MNT has hosted a rotating field that has featured Australia, Brazil, England, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey.

In 2008, the competition joined forces with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, which features the top club teams in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups from around the United States. The Nike International Friendlies act as the event’s centerpiece and the combined event highlights the cohesion between the Development Academy Member Clubs and the U.S. Youth National Teams.

Learn more about the 2016 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase. 

Past Results
The 2015 Nike Friendlies saw a young U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team finish fourth in a strong field of teams that featured champions England, runners-up Netherlands and Brazil. At the 2014 event, the USA finished runner-up to Brazil in a tournament field that also included England and Australia. In 2013, the U.S., Brazil, England and Portugal made up the four-team field, with the U.S. winning the event with a victory over Brazil in the tournament’s final match. It was the USA’s second Nike Friendlies title in three years after also winning the 2011 title; Portugal won in 2012.

Turkey and Portugal last attended the Nike Friendlies in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Brazil has attended the tournament every year since 2006, in addition to a 2003 appearance. 

Past Players
The Nike International Friendlies have featured a number of players throughout the years who went on to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including current players Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Omar Gonzalez, Christian Pulisic and Rubio Rubin. 

International players such as Brazil’s Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Marcelo, the Netherlands’ Memphis Depay, and many others have also taken the main stage in the well-regarded international tournament.

In addition to current and former MNT players and other international soccer stars, the NFL’s San Diego Chargers’ kicker Josh Lambo also participated in the ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08 editions of the Nike International Friendlies as a goalkeeper for the U-17 MNT before transitioning into his NFL career. 

A View of the U.S. Roster
On Tuesday, U.S. U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth named a 20-player roster for the competition. Hackworth’s squad features 10 players that hail from M.L.S. Academies, along with three foreign-based players in goalkeeper Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos of Portuguese cub Benfica, Sergino Dest of Ajax and Timothy Weah of Paris Saint-Germain. The latter is the son of former FIFA World Player of the Year, George Weah.

Check out the full U.S. U-17 roster for the Nike International Friendlies. 

Streaming Schedule
The tournament will feature three international doubleheaders, with the USA playing in the evening game of each match day. The U.S. will face Portugal on Nov. 30, Turkey on Dec. 2 and will close out the competition against Brazil on Dec. 4. 

All six matches will be live streamed on U.S. Soccer’s Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and

Check out the full schedule below.
All times Eastern.




Nov. 30

Brazil vs. Turkey

3:30 p.m.

Nov. 30

USA vs. Portugal

7 p.m.

Dec. 2

Portugal vs. Brazil

3:30 p.m.

Dec. 2

USA vs. Turkey

7 p.m.

Dec. 4

Turkey vs. Portugal

1:30 p.m.

Dec. 4

USA vs. Brazil

5 p.m.