Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Tiny German club Hoffenheim raids U-17 program
by Paul Kennedy, August 26th, 2009 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily



[AMERICANS ABROAD] German club Hoffenheim, the surprise of the 2008-09 Bundesliga season, has pulled a coup, landing Joseph-Claude Gyau and midfielder Charles Renken in the highest-profile signings of U.S. U-17 players since German club Bayer Leverkusen signed Landon Donovan a decade ago. There's a twist to the deal: Gyau and Renken will first spend time at the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program.

Agent Dan Segal told ESPNsoccernet that Gyau, 16, and Renken, 15, will go to school in Vancouver and then join Hoffenheim full-time in 2010. FIFA rules prohibit the transfer of players under 18.

A former U.S. U-17 resident Axel Levry, like Gyau and Renken with African heritage, has taken a similar route. He joined the residency program and was last week loaned to German club Energie Cottbus' under-23 team.

Hoffenheim earned promotion in 2008 and led the Bundesliga at last season's winter break. It was led by St. Louis product Vedad Ibisevic, who scored 18 goals in the first half of the season before going down with a knee injury. Ibisevic was born in Bosnia, lived briefly in Switzerland and then moved to St. Louis. He attended Saint Louis University for one season.

According to ESPNsoccernet's Justin Rodriguez, Gyau and Renken will not return to residency.

Gyau, whose father Phillip played for the U.S. national team and whose grandfather Nana played for Ghana and later in the NASL, represented the USA in qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria later this year but has not played with the U-17s in recent months.

Renken has been sidelined with a knee injury. He and two brothers moved from Zambia to Edwardsville, Ill., to live with their brother's adopted family in 2003.

Many players, notably Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore, have turned professional after finishing U-17 residency, but they signed with MLS teams.

The only U.S. national team player who has gone from the Bradenton residency program directly to Europe and achieved success is Jonathan Spector, who joined Manchester United and now plays for West Ham in England. Neven Subotic, a former U.S. U-17 player residing in Bradenton and discovered playing in a local park, plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany and now represents Serbia.

On paper, the 2009 U-17 residency program has one of the deepest classes ever.

Sebastian Lletget, who took over for Renken and Gyau in the U.S. midfield, has joined West Ham's residency program, though he only briefly trained in Bradenton.

Midfielder Luis Gil, 15, has reportedly been courted by Arsenal, while Jack McInerney, the USA's leading scorer in qualifying, recently spent two weeks at Dutch club Vitesse.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Playoffs: Teams at familiar stage    
MLS's Knockout Round concludes Thursday with two games: D.C. United-Montreal and Seattle-Sporting KC. All four teams ...
Video Pick: Sublime scissor kick by Nacho    
Real Madrid's 26-year-old Nacho scored the goal of the week, a 17-yard scissor kick, on Wednesday ...
U.S. Abroad: Julian Green nets first Bayern goal    
Julian Green scored his first goal for Bayern Munich in his first start of the season, ...
LA schedules announced for NSCAA and MLS events    
Los Angeles will be the place to be for soccer in January. It will for the ...
Calendar: 2016-17 MLS offseason    
Major League Soccer won't waste time getting down to the business of preparing for the 2017 ...
What They're Saying: Franz Beckenbauer    
"Carlos Alberto was like a brother to me, one of my best friends." -- Former German ...
MLS: Pending Barnetta exit adds incentive for Union    
Of the 12 playoff qualifiers, Philadelphia compiled the fewest points (42) and drew a daunting match ...
What They're Saying: Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious Burke    
"This project in my opinion is a game changer." -- Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious ...
USL Expansion: Tampa Bay and Ottawa leave NASL    
As the USL and MLS grow, the NASL shrinks. From its membership of 12 teams for ...
MLS Moves: Jahn's goals net him new contract in Columbus    
A rough season for Crew SC did yield some hope for the future, and as part ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives