USA enjoys long history of U-17 regional success

The U.S. U-17s will get a chance to avenge the loss to Honduras two years ago that kept it out of the Under-17 World Cup for the first time. The USA has a long history of success in the tournament dating back to its first entry captained by Jeff Agoos in 1983.

It was a U-16 tournament in 1983, and the USA, coached by Angus McAlpine, beat host Trinidad & Tobago in the final. Unfortunately, Agoos and his teammates did not get to go to China by the time the first world championship -- the Kodak Cup -- was held two years later, and a hastily arranged team of new players was put together at the last minute to go to China. Its star: future Major League Baseball outfielder Curtis Pride.

Before 2013, the closest the USA came to not qualifying was when the great team of 1999 led by Landon Donovan needed a playoff against El Salvador to clinch the third and final Concacaf berth at the finals in New Zealand.

Playing before 20,000 fans in San Salvador, the USA triumphed, 6-1, in the first leg, getting a hat trick from Jordan Cila. In the second leg, the USA won, 4-0, thanks to two goals from Oguchi Onyewu, one goal and two assists from DaMarcus Beasley and one goal from Landon Donovan, who had missed the first leg. The USA went on to finish fourth in New Zealand -- its best record ever -- and Donovan and Beasley were 1-2 in the balloting for the Golden Ball winner.

Besides 1999 and 2013, the USA won the tournament three times, finished second five times and qualified by winning its group on four other occasions. On the first three occasions, there was no Concacaf champion crowned. On the fourth, the semifinals and final of the 2009 championship in Tijuana, Mexico, were canceled after the Mexican government ordered all schools to be closed because of an outbreak of swine flu.

USA U-17 Concacaf Record:
1983: first place
1985: *did not enter
1987: second place
1988: second place
1991: second place
1992: first place
1994: second place
1996: second place
1999: won qualifying playoff
2001: won qualifying group
2003: won qualifying group
2005: won qualifying group
2007:
won qualifying group
2009: won group (semifinals and final canceled due to swine flu)
2011: first place
2013: lost in quarterfinals
*USA qualified for 1985 U-16 World Cup as 1983 Concacaf champion.
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