Commentary

Meet the 21 U.S. U-17 World Cup players

By Mike Woitalla

The 21-player roster U.S. coach Richie Williams named for the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile Oct. 17-Nov. 8 includes 19 of the players who comprised the USA's 20-player roster at the U-17 Concacaf Championship where the USA finished third to earn one of the region’s four spots at the World Cup.

The added players are goalkeeper Eric Lopez, who joined U.S. U-17 residency in 2014, and Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty, who was called up last May and replaces South Texan McKinze Gaines, a forward who came off the bench in three qualifying games.

The USA has appeared in 14 of the 15 biennial U-17 World Cups, failing to qualify only in 2013. It has not won a knockout stage game since finishing fourth in 1999 with the team that included Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Kyle Beckerman. In Chile, the USA faces Nigeria (Oct. 17), Croatia (Oct. 20) and Chile (Oct. 23) in group play.

All the players besides 1999-born Lopez and Tyler Adams are 98s. The squad includes three European-based players: Daniel Barbir, Christian Pulisic and Luca de la Torre. One member of the squad, FC Dallas' Alejandro Zendejas, has already seen MLS action.

GOALKEEPERS
Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II; Westminster, Calif.).
Reserve keeper joined U.S. U-17 residency in January 2014. Last November he became the youngest player ever to sign a contract in USL PRO when inked for LA Galaxy II at age 15. He's one of two 99s in the squad.

William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.)

Virginia product started all six qualifying games. Cousin of playmaker Christian Pulisic. Played two Development Academy seasons for Richmond United before joining U-17 residency in Bradenton, Fla., in 2013.

Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
Won the Golden Glove at the 2013 Nike Friendlies and shared starts with William Pulisic until 2015.

DEFENDERS
Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.)
Youngest field player -- only 1999-born member in Concacaf Championship squad -- played in all six qualifying games. In March he became the Red Bulls' first player signing for their USL reserve team. Scored for Red Bulls’ first team in a 4-2 friendly win over Chelsea in July.

Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.)
Central defender captained the USA in four qualifying games. Scored first goal in qualifiers, a fifth-minute header in 5-0 rout over Cuba.

Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.)
The 6-foot-3 central defender, previously with New Jersey’s PDA, signed a professional contract with Premier League club West Brom in April and plays for its U-21s.

Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.)
Tennessee product, who has committed to Clemson, played youth ball with Tennessee SC and Brentwood SC.

John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio)
Outside back out of Ohio played for Internationals since age 6. Joined U-17 residency in 2014. Played in five of six qualifiers.

Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.)

New Jersey product played youth ball with the Princeton Soccer Association and Mooch Soccer, a Trenton inner-city soccer program named after the late Glenn Myernick, before joining the Red Bulls. The right back started all six qualifiers.

Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.)
Only player who debuted for U-17s after qualifying. Played with the Philadelphia Union’s U-17/18 and U-15/16 Development Academy teams during the 2014-15 seasons. Committed to University of North Carolina.

Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego)
Stared all six qualifying games in central defense. Signed with the NASL's New York Cosmos in August. Played youth club ball for the San Diego Surf and the Nomads.

MIDFIELDERS
Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.)
Captained one game during qualifiers. Played Development Academy ball at Real So Cal before joining U-17 residency in 2013.

Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego)
Scored once and notched three assists in qualifying. Joined Fulham from the San Diego Surf in 2013, signed a pro contract last August, and this season appeared in four (three starts, one goal) of Fulham’s first five U-21 Premier League games.

Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.)
Saw action in two qualifiers. Joined U-17 residency in 2013 from PDA.

Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.)

After joining Borussia Dortmund from PA Classics via U-17 residency, the Pennsylvanian playmaker helped Dortmund win the 2015 German U-17 national championship. Now plays for Dortmund’s U-19s and appeared in a friendly game with the first team in September. Both of his parents played collegiate ball at George Mason. Made four assists in qualifiers.

Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Texas)
Signed a pro contract in late 2014 with FC Dallas after emerging from its El Paso affiliate. Has made eight MLS appearances (two starts). Wore the captain’s band in the Concacaf Championship final, in which USA clinched its World Cup berth with a shootout win after a scoreless tie.

FORWARDS
Pierre da Silva (Orlando City Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.)
Started once and used as a sub once in qualifying. Joined Orlando City SC academy from New York SC.

Joe Gallardo (Monterrey/MEX; San Diego)

Scored four goals, including a hat trick against Cuba, in qualifying play. The Southern Californian joined Monterrey after being discovered by the Mexican club playing for the Nomads at the 2011 Dallas Cup.

Josh Perez (unattached; La Habra, Calif.)
Scored a hat trick in 4-1 win in qualifier against Guatemala. The nephew of U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Hugo Perez, he played for Chivas USA and trained at PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan before an extended stint with Fiorentina that started in April 2013 and ended with his entry into Bradenton last January.

Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.)
Southern Californian joined Club Tijuana in 2012. Had stints with Mexico’s U-15s and U-17s before returning to U.S. program.

Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles).
Southern California product played for Los Angeles Galaxy academy team before entering residency. Spent time as a “guest player” for Germany’s Schalke 04 before signing with the NASL’s Cosmos in March. Scored once in qualifying after leading team in scoring in 2014.

(Photos courtesy of U.S. Soccer.)

2 comments about "Meet the 21 U.S. U-17 World Cup players".
  1. Kevin Sims, October 1, 2015 at 8:25 p.m.

    Tanner the son of Father Ryan HS (Nashville, TN) coach Robin Dieterich, leader of decades of winning boys & girls teams

  2. cony konstin, October 1, 2015 at 8:53 p.m.

    Good luck USA.....

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