The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team kicks off a new cycle when it opens up the 2017 Nike International Friendlies against England on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Here are five things you should know about the USA’s opener against the reigning FIFA U-17 World Cup champions.
THE YOUNG AMERICANS
After the USA’s impressive run to the Quarterfinals of October’s U-17 World Cup, the Nike International Friendlies turn the page for the U-17 MNT program. The 20-player roster, all born in 2002 or later, represent the beginning of a new cycle for the squad. This age group competed at the U-15 level for the last two years – notably finishing second at the 2017 CONCACAF U-15 Boys Championship -- and will now train and compete for the next two years in preparation for the 2019 CONCACAF U-17 Championship with hopes of qualifying to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
All 20 players are U.S. Soccer Development Academy products. Two have already signed MLS Homegrown contracts with their clubs: Atlanta United FC’s George Bello and Sporting Kansas City’s Gianluca Busio.
U.S. U-17 MNT Roster – 2017 Nike International Friendlies (Club, Hometown)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Kashope Oladapo (Portland Timbers; Happy Valley, Ore.)
DEFENDERS (6): Axel Alejandre (FC United Soccer Club; Chicago, Ill.), Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids; Highlands Ranch, Co.), George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.), Mason Judge (Chargers Soccer Club; Tampa, Fla.), Kenneth Nielsen (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Joshua Atencio (Seattle Sounders FC; Bellevue, Wash.), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greenboro, NC), Adam Saldana (Real So Cal; Panorama City, Calif.), Gilbert Fuentes Perez (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Maximillian Goeggel (VFB Stuttgart; San Francisco, Calif.), Peter Stroud (New York Red Bulls; Chester, NJ)
FORWARDS (6): Julian Gaines (Lonestar Soccer Club; Austin, Tex.), Cade Hagan (Sockers FC; Naperville, Ill.), Diego Lopez (FC Golden State; Chino, Calif.), Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Fresno, Calif.), Dante Sealy (FC Dallas; Frisco, Tex.), Ray Serrano (Seattle Sounders FC; Graham, Wash.)