Five months after he was fired as the Philadelphia Union's head coach, John Hackworth
is back with U.S.
Soccer as the head coach of its under-15 boys national team. Hackworth had previously been U.S. under-17 national team coach through two World Cup cycles (2004-07). He replaces Hugo Perez
, who worked for two years as the head coach of the '99 age group that was last year's under-15 national team. The former U.S. World Cup player was relieved
of his duties as U-15 coach two months ago.
In this new full-time position, Hackworth will work on transitioning under-17 players as they move up to the under-17 national team.
“When I heard about this position becoming full-time, I was excited not just for myself but for U.S. Soccer,” Hackworth said. “I think it’s a position that will truly
advance our player development in this country. The U-15 coach’s job is to prepare a large pool of players early in the developmental cycle of the youth national teams, and expanding our focus
in this area is significant. One key component is taking the messages from the senior national team and keeping them consistent throughout all the programs, so that players know what is expected at
the highest level and we are properly preparing them to advance through our national teams.”
Hackworth first became an assistant coach for the U.S. under-17 men’s national
team under former head coach John Ellinger
in 2002. He then took the USA to the 2005 U-17 World Championship, where the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals, and
the 2007 U-17 World Cup, at which the USA fell in the round of 16. After being replaced by Wilmer Cabrera
, Hackworth worked an assistant coach with the
men’s national team until 2009 and then served as the inaugural technical director of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy before spending the last five years at the Union, first as its youth
development coordinator and then head coach.
In Hackworth's first cycle, late bloomers included Jozy Altidore, Omar Gonzalez and Neven Subotic,
who later played for Serbia at the World Cup. The 2007 crop was less productive.
Hackworth’s first camp with the U-15s will take place in December and include 36 players and will
take place from Dec. 13-20. The U-15s will travel to Gradisca, Italy, for a tournament in the spring.
Hackworth will coach the U-15s -- the 2000 age group -- in 2015 before they graduate
next fall into the next U-17 cycle that ends with qualifying for the 2017 U-17 World Cup. In the fall of 2015, Hackworth will begin to work the 2002-born group for a two-year cycle.