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Colombian expected to be new U.S. U-17 coach
by Mike Woitalla, October 25th, 2007 7AM
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TAGS:  u-17 world cup


Two days after the dismissal of women's national team coach Greg Ryan, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that John Hackworth will no longer be head coach of the U.S. U-17 boys national team. Under Hackworth, the USA lost three games and won once at last summer's U-17 World Cup. The leading candidate to replace Hackworth is former Colombian World Cup defender Wilmer Cabrera.

Hackworth has been named assistant coach to U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley and U.S. Soccer Development Academy Director.

Cabrera, 40, represented Colombia at the 1990 and 1998 World Cups and worked as a helicopter pilot in Colombia after retiring. He then immigrated with his family to the New York area, where came out of retirement to play for the USL's Long Island Rough Riders. He also became a coach at Queens youth club BW Gottschee and assistant coach of Suffolk Community College men's team.

Earlier this year Cabrera was named MLS manager of fan development, working on Hispanic grassroots and youth programs.

Hackworth became U-17 head coach in November of 2004, which put him in charge of the residency program in Bradenton, Fla. He had been U-17 assistant under John Ellinger from 2002 until replacing Ellinger when he became Real Salt Lake head coach.

At the 2005 U-17 World Cup in Peru, Hackworth guided the USA to first place in its group before a quarterfinal loss to the Netherlands.

But his team disappointed at the 2007 World Cup in South Korea. It opened with a 4-3 loss to Tajikistan, fell 3-1 to Tunisia, but managed to finish second in its group thanks to a 2-0 win over Belgium before losing, 2-1, to Germany in the round of 16.

While preparing the USA for the 2007 U-17 World Cup, Hackworth also worked on setting up the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which launched this fall with 64 clubs, including the Bradenton residency U.S. players.

As the Development Academy Director, Hackworth will be the primary liaison to Academy clubs on all technical issues.

"It has been very rewarding for me to see the Development Academy take shape over the past 18 months," said Hackworth. "The program provides the elite player with the proper environment for their development. In the past month, we have already identified a number of players for the national team program and we expect that the opportunity for players to train more and play in a highly competitive environment will pay dividends in the future."

FURTHER READING: Reevaluating the Residency Program (Soccer America, October 2007)

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