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USA heads to Tijuana for qualifying
by Paul Kennedy, April 17th, 2009 7AM
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[CONCACAF UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP] U.S. under-17 national team coach Wilmer Cabrera named 20 players whom he'll take to 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship April 21-May 2 in Tijuana, Mexico. USA, the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup since the tournament's inception in 1985, has one notable omission: 15-year-old midfield star Charles Renken, who has been in residency five semesters but is again sidelined with a knee injury. For the complete roster ...

"We have been working for a year and a half on this roster," said Cabrera, who is leading the USA 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."

All 20 players on the roster are currently part of U.S. Soccer's U-17 Residency Program, training daily at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.

Sebastian Lleget is the newest resident, having joined the team in Bradenton less than six weeks ago. He will likely replace Renken.

Carlos Martinez returned to residency after being kicked out last fall, while Nick Palodichuk entered the program in January.

The U.S. attack is led by Jack McInerney (11 goals in 20 career U-17 internationals), Stefan Jerome (team-high three assists in 2009) and Joseph Gyau (most caps with 24). Gyau is the son of former U.S. international Philip Gyau and grandson of former Ghana star Nana Gyau.

The USA will open its Concacaf campaign against Cuba on Tuesday at Estadio Caliente, then play Canada Thursday and round out Group A play against Honduras on April 25 (all three games are slated to kick off at 4 p.m. local time/7 p.m. ET).

Group B consists of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.

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.

Key:
*1st semester
**2nd semester
***3rd semester
****4th semester
*****5th semester

GOALKEEPERS:
'92 Earl Edwards (Nomads, Calif.) ****
'92 Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier, Wash.) ***

DEFENDERS:
'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.) ***

MIDFIELDERS:
'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.) *


FORWARDS:
'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.) ****

 



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