The USA will put its perfect record of having qualified for every FIFA U-17 World Cup since the tournament's inception in 1985 on the line when it faces Cuba, Canada and Honduras at the 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, beginning Tuesday in Tijuana, Mexico, but the Americans will be without their most heralded player, 15-year-old midfielder Charles Renken, who is again sidelined with a knee injury.
Renken (born Charles Bimbe in Zambia) was sidelined last year with a knee injury, but his comeback was set back when he was injured last month during the USA's match against Uruguay in Buenos Aires.
Renken had been in residency five semesters, making him the most experienced player in the Bradenton, Fla., program.
U.S. under-17 national team coach Wilmer Cabrera will take 20 players to Tijuana, including two players who are in their first semester of residency: midfielders Sebastian Lleget and Nick Palodichuk. Cabrera selected 10 players who have been in residency for four semesters, arriving before Cabrera took over the program in the fall of 2008.
"We have been working for a year and a half on this roster," said Cabrera, who is leading the U.S. through qualifying for the first time since joining the program in the fall of 2007. "At this point, the players have really decided for themselves who is going based on their performance. It's difficult with 40 players and we had some tough decisions to make, but we did what we felt was best for the team."
Carlos Martinezreturned to residency after being kicked out last fall.
The four semifinalists at the tournament will qualify for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which will be held Oct. 24-Nov. 15 in Nigeria. The semifinals will be played on April 29, with the final and third-place match played on May 2.
'92 Earl Edwards (Nomads, Calif.) ****
'92 Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier, Wash.) ***
'92 Zachary Herold (Schulz Academy, Fla.) ****
'92 Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic AS Monaco, Ill.) ****
'92 Emilio Orozco (Rampage FC, Calif.) ****
'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 Andrew Craven (First Coast Kicks, Ga.) ***
'92 Bryan Duran (Latino Americana, Texas) ****
'93 Luis Gil (Pateadores, Calif.) ***
'92 Carlos Martinez (Downtown Las Vegas SC, Nev.) ****
'92 Sebastian Lleget (Santa Clara SC, Calif) *
'92 Nicholas Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC, Wash.) *
'92 John Agudelo (N.Y. Red Bulls Academy) **
'92 Dustin Corea (East Side United FC, Ore.) **
'92 Joseph Gyau (FC Delco, Pa.) ****
'92 Stefan Jerome (Schulz Academy, Fla.) ****
'92 Jack McInerney (Cobb SC, Ga.) ****