On the eve of the all-important qualifying for the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, three players have entered the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., including the first player to join from a foreign club, Cristian Flores of Mexico's Monterrey. Also back in camp is star Carlos Martinez, three months after being dismissed from residency.
U.S. Under-17 coach Wilmer Cabrera has 39 players training at the IMG Academies -- all born in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Three players will be part of the program for the first time as Cody Cropper, Jose Perez and Flores.
Cropper, a 6-foot-4 goalkeeper, is the only residency player from Minnesota. He spent time in the USL Minnesota Thunder and Reading Rage's academy programs and had a trial at Wolves in his father's native England.
Perez joins the U-17s from the FC Dallas Juniors, who are having a sensational first year in the Development Academy.
Flores, the lone professional player on the roster, hails from El Cajon, Calif.
Martinez, one of the U-17s' top prospects, was sent home last fall for unnamed disciplinary problems but returned to the program. Jack McInerney and Martinez were the team's leading scorers in 2008, both registering six international goals.
Zambian-born Charles Renken, still only 15, returns for his fifth semester in Bradenton.
Cabrera also welcomes back 14 players who are entering their fourth semester of the program.
Luis Giland Tyler Polak led the squad with 13 starts in 2008, while Stefan Jerome and Joseph Gyau each made 16 appearances.
Cabrera's boys will play in the 2009 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, which will be held in late April. The USA will attempt for its 13th consecutive FIFA event at this level.
UNDER-17 RESIDENCY ROSTER
'93 Cody Cropper (Minnesota Thunder Academy) *
'92 Earl Edwards (Nomads, Calif.) ****
'93 Jonathan Kempin (K.C. Wizards Juniors) **
'92 Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier, Wash.) ***
'93 Michael Ambrose (Texas Fire) **
'92 Julio Arjona (D.C. United Academy) ***
'92 Cristian Flores (Monterrey, Mexico) *
'92 Zachary Herold (Schulz Academy, Fla.) ****
'92 Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic, Ill.) ****
'93 Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire, Ga.) **
'93 Boyd Okwuonu (Tulsa Thunder, Okla.) **
'92 Emilio Orozco (Rampage FC, Calif.) ****
'92 Shaquille Phillips (D.C. United Academy) ***
'92 Tyler Polak (Capital Soccer Academy, Neb.) ****
'93 Alex Shinsky (SuperNova FC, Pa.) ****
'92 Jared Watts (North Meck, N.C.) ****
'92 Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride, Ind.) ***
'92 Jonathan Canales (West Coast FC, Calif.) **
'92 Dustin Corea (East Side United FC, Ore.) **
'92 Andrew Craven (First Coast Kicks, Ga.) ***
'93 Sean Davis (Matchfit Academy, N.J.) **
'92 Bryan Duran (Latino Americana, Texas) ****
'93 Luis Gil (Pateadores, Calif.) ***
'92 Joseph Gyau (FC Delco, Pa.) ****
'92 Donovan Henry (Schulz Academy, Fla.) ****
'92 George Malki (FC Del Sol, Ariz.) **
'92 Carlos Martinez (Downtown Las Vegas SC, Nev.) ****
'92 Alex Molano (FC Dallas Juniors) **
'92 Jose Perez (FC Dallas Juniors) *
'93 Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire Academy) **
'93 Charles Renken (St. Louis Scott Gallagher, Mo.) *****
'92 Dominic Sarle (BW Gottschee, N.Y.) **
'92 Erik Stephenson (Surf, Calif.) ***
'92 John Agudelo (N.Y. Red Bulls Academy) **
'92 Jonathan Brown (Central Jackson SO, Miss) **
'92 Stefan Jerome (Schulz Academy, Fla.) ****
'94 Alfred Koroma (Solar Red) ***
'92 Jack McInerney (Cobb SC, Ga.) ****
'92 Soony Saad (Vardar SC, Mich.) **