Five Things to Know: Colombia U-17s

2017 Colombia U-17 MNT
2017 Colombia U-17 MNT

Coming off a 1-0 statement win against African power Ghana, the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team concludes group play at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday, Oct. 12 when it meets Colombia, which fell to Ghana 1-0 in its first match before responding with a 2-1 win against the host nation. With a win or tie, the USA will earn the top spot in Group A heading into the Round of 16. The match vs. Colombia will be televised on FS2, and UNIVERSO at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Here are five things to know about Colombia:


Like its senior team, the Colombia U-17 squad claimed the fourth and final World Cup spot available for South America. Placed in Group A for the 2017 South American Under-17 Football Championship, Los Cafeteros, finished second in the first stage to host Chile. A 2-1 victory over Paraguay on the last matchday of the Final Stage, combined with a 2-4 Ecuador defeat to Venezuela, secured Colombia’s ticket to India.

Here’s a look back at their results:

Group Stage

Feb. 23

2-1 W vs. Ecuador

Feb. 25

1-1 D vs. Chile

Feb. 27

3-1 W vs. Uruguay

Mar. 1

3-2 L vs. Bolivia

Final Stage

Mar. 7

2-1 W vs. Ecuador

Mar. 10

1-0 L vs. Chile

Mar. 13

0-0 D vs. Venezuela

Mar. 16

3-0 L vs. Brazil

Mar. 19

2-1 W vs. Paraguay


2017 marks Colombia’s first appearance at the U-17 World Cup since 2009 and its sixth appearance all-time. The 2009 tournament saw Colombia finish fourth, tied for its best-ever finish at the World Cup. The most notable player from the 2009 roster is Santiago Arias, who went on to represent Colombia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In 23 games played from 1989 to 2009, Colombia’s U-17s have posted a 7-9-7 record, scoring 38 goals to 34 allowed.


All 21 players on the Colombia roster play their club soccer domestically. The clubs with the largest constituency of players are AC Deportivo Cali, Atletico Nacional and CD Estudiantes FC, each with three players on the squad.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicolas Gomez - (AC Deportivo Cali, COL), Daniel Melo - (Udinese Barranquilla, COL), Kevin Mier - (Atletico Nacional, COL)

DEFENDERS (2): Andres Cifuentes - (AC Deportivo Cali, COL), Guillermo Tegue - (CD Estudiantes FC, COL)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Christian Andrade - (Millonarios FC, COL), Fabian Angel - (Barranquilla FC, COL), Gustavo Carvajal - (America de Cali, COL), Brayan Gomez - (Atletico Nacional, COL), Thomas Gutierrez - (CD Estudiantes FC, COL), Etilso Martinez - (Atletico Rionegro 2010, COL), Robert Mejia - (Universitario Popayan, COL), Yadir Meneses - (Envigado FC, COL), Juan Penaloza - (CD Estudiantes FC, COL), Andres Perea - (Atletico Nacional, COL)

FORWARDS (6): Santiago Barrero - (Atletico Rionegro 2010, COL), Deiber Caicedo - (AC Deportivo Cali, COL), Leandro Campaz - (Deportes Tolima, COL), Deyman Cortes - (CD Atletico Huila, COL), Luis Lopez - (Santa Fe CD, COL), Juan Vidal - (Barranquilla FC, COL)


Current Colombia star James Rodriguez made his debut on the international stage with the U-17 squad, scoring three goals in the 2007 U-17 World Cup. Los Cafeteros advanced to the knockout round, but were eliminated by eventual champion Nigeria. The Bayern Munich man also starred at the 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia, captaining the team as well as scoring three goals and notching three assists.

Other players to go on to professional and senior National Team prominence after breaking through with Colombia’s U-17s include Cristián Zapata, Pablo Armero, Fredy Guarín, Adrián Ramos and Jeison Murillo.


On August 23, 2016, the Colombian Football Federation named Orlando Restrepo its U-17 head coach. With extensive experience managing clubs in Colombia’s professional soccer leagues including Once Caldas, Pereira, Atletico Bucaramanga, Envigado, Rionegro, Real Cartagena and Patriotas, Restrepo also managed around 50 international matches with clubs Jorge Wilstermann of Bolivia in 1999 and Ramonense of Costa Rica during the 2004-2005 season.

Since 2010, Restrepo has been at the forefront of different training processes, first as director of minor divisions of the Ferroválvulas club and was previously the technical director for Atletico Nacional’s Under-17 category.