U.S. Soccer still banking on U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton

By Mike Woitalla

The U.S. Soccer Federation launched the U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., in 1999. Later that year, the USA finished fourth at the U-17 World Cup in Zealand.

The USA has not managed to win a knockout-stage game at the U-17 World Cup since then. The most recent effort, this month, under Coach Richie Williams, ended with one tie, two losses, and a first-round exit. The previous cycle, also under Williams, failed to qualify for the 2013 U-17 World Cup, the first time the USA didn't qualify for the biennial tournament that launched in 1985.

For years now, the value of the Residency Program has been debated, especially since U.S. Soccer launched the Development Academy in 2007 and MLS teams began investing heavily in youth programs.

In May, Williams answered my question on whether it's still necessary to have a U-17 residency program with: “That continues to be the debate. I think we provide a great environment in residency, but I don't think anyone wants to take a 15-year-old away from home if they don't have to. The people making decisions at U.S. Soccer will determine when it's the right time when we won’t need residency. They’re constantly evaluating the academies, which are, with MLS leading the way, becoming stronger and stronger.”

A U.S. Soccer spokesman said there has been "no change" to the Residency Program, but I did not get a response on whether Williams will continue as U-17 coach.

John Hackworth, who coached the U-17s and headed Residency Program in 2004-2007, and served the previous two years as John Ellinger's U-17 assistant, is currently U.S. U-15 boys national team coach. He has gathered 60 players for a Nov. 1-8 camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 2000-born players, eligible for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, are auditioning for spots in residency.

Among the players is Ben Lederman, a Southern California product who joined Barcelona’s youth program in 2011 but was ruled ineligible for competitive play in Spain when FIFA found Barcelona in violation of its ban on the transfer of minors across international borders.

States represented on 60-player roster:
16 California.
8 Florida.
5 Pennsylvania.
4 New Jersey, New York.
3 Georgia, Virginia.
2 Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina.
1 Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Ohio, Ontario, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington.

U.S. U-15 boys national team roster
GOALKEEPERS (6): Alexander Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Dos Santos (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Mason Finnell (Sacramento Republic FC; Folsom, Calif.), Justin Garces (Kendall FC; Miami, Fla.), Quantrell Jones (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Hunter Pinho (PDA; Cranford, N.J.).
DEFENDERS (20): Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy, Glendora, Calif.), Carlos Asensio (Georgia United, Roswell, Ga.), Kelee Cornfield-Saunders (LA Galaxy; San Marcos, Calif.), Griffin DeBolt (Crew SC Academy; Westerville, Ohio), Michael Edwards (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.), Jonathan Estrada (LA Galaxy; Santa Ana, Calif.), Tyler Freitas (New England Revolution; North Attleboro, Mass.), Chris Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Ben Huynh (Seattle Sounders; Everett, Wash.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Benjamin Mines (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, Conn.), Ian Murphy (FC Golden State; Redlands, Calif.), James Orozco (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Bryan Perez (LA Premier FC; Los Angeles, Calif.), Carlo Ritaccio (BW Gottschee; Westbury, N.Y.), Ethan Sawdon (IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.), Allen Seals (Orlando City FC; Orlando, Fla.), Nykolas Sessock (Philadelphia Union; Holland, Pa.), Chandler Vaughn (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.).
MIDFIELDERS (17): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union; Medford, N.J.), George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Isaac Angking (New England Revolution; Providence, R.I.), Carlos Anguiano Diaz (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Jean-Julien Foe Nuphaus (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Christopher Goslin (Georgia United; Locust Grove, Ga.), Seth Kuhn (Philadelphia Union; Wyomissing, Pa.), Ben Lederman (IMG Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), John Murphy (PDA; Scotch Plains, N.J.), Bryce Orsini (D.C. United; Rockville, Md.), Jesus Sahagun Garcia (Weston FC; Miami, Fla.), James Sands (New York Soccer Club; Rye, N.Y.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.), Adrian Villegas (Portland Timbers; Hood River, Ore.).
FORWARDS (17): Patrick Ajdukiewicz (Sockers FC; Barrington, Ill.), Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Zico Bailey (LA Galaxy; Las Vegas, Nev.), Misa Becerra (LA Galaxy; East Los Angeles, Calif.), Andrew Carleton (Georgia United; Powder Springs, Ga..), Nicolas Garcia-Morillo (Unattached; Miami, Fla.), Niccolo Lemoine (De Anza Force; Livermore, Calif.), Mario Licor (Orlando City FC; Titusville, Fla.), Kevin Negrete (LA Galaxy; Hawthorne, Calif.), Alejandro Pereira (Orlando City FC; Oviedo, Fla.), Issa Rayyan (Philadelphia Union; West Chester, Pa.), Will Sands (New York Soccer Club; Rye, N.Y.), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.), Tonny Temple (IMG Academy; Millville, Pa.), Jack Valderrabano (New York Red Bulls; New York, N.Y.), Mason Visconti (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Tristan Weber (LA Galaxy; San Clemente, Calif.).

U.S. U-18 boys split with Canada

The Javier Perez-coached U.S. U-18 boys national team beat its counterparts from Canada, 3-1, before losing the rematch, 3-2, during a Southern California training camp in last October.

Perez brought in a 24-player squad of 1999-borns.

Sweden-raised, New York-born Nebiyou Perry scored twice in the victory over Canada. FC Richmond’s Nick Taitague scored in each game.

Taitague scored the first goal in the 3-1 win in spectacular fashion. After ending up on the ground during the initial foray, Taitague jumped to his feet to reclaim the ball and juked three Canadians before hitting the net.

Oct. 25 in Carson, Calif.
USA 2 Canada 3. Goals: Dorsey 30, Taitague 70; Muenkat 5, Davies 63, own goal 90.
USA lineup -- Mercado; Zarris (Taitague, 46), Uribe, Vom Steeg, Stanley; Aguilera, Paniagua (Gonzalez, 46), Carranza; Rennicks (del Rosario, 56), Dorsey, Perry (Marin, 80).

Oct. 23 in Carson, Calif.
USA 3 Canada 1. Goals: Taitague 41, Perry 67, Perry 89; Muenkat 7.
USA -- Scott; Avila (Jones, 26 Vom Steeg, Uribe, Stanley; Aguilera, Gonzalez (Torres, 90), Carranza (Rennicks, 61); del Rosario (Zarris, 61), Dorsey (Perry, 46), Taitague (Marin, 72).

U-18 boys national team roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Carlos Mercado (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Trey Miller (New England Revolution; Monson, Mass.), Brady Scott (De Anza Force; Petaluma, Calif.), Carson Williams (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas).
DEFENDERS (7): Calvin Aroh (New England Revolution; Glastonbury, Conn.), Jordi Avila (Kendall SC; Hialeah Gardens, Fla.), Daniel Jones (New England Revolution; West Hartford, Conn.), Gabe Kash (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro; Marshall, Ill.), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; Columbia, Ill.), Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana; Tijuana, Mexico), Carson Vom Steeg (Real So Cal; Santa Barbara, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Raul Aguilera, Jr. (Orlando City; Sanford, Fla.), Jose Carranza (D.C. United; Manassas, Va.), Jack Maher (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro; Caseyville, Ill.), Gabriel Paniagua (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.), Nick Taitague (FC Richmond; Midlothian, Va.), Juan Torres (Georgia United; Lilburn, Ga.).
FORWARDS (7): Lucas del Rosario (Capital Area Railhawks; Durham, N.C.), Griffin Dorsey (Colorado Rush; Evergreen, Col.), Jonathan Gonzalez (C.F. Monterrey; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Jeanpaul Marin (New York Red Bulls; Rego Park, N.Y.), Nebiyou Perry (AIK Fotboll/SWE; New York, N.Y.), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution; Boston, Mass.), Aristotle Zarris (RSL Arizona; Casa Grande, Ariz.)

Mexico reaches U-17 World Cup semifinals

Mexico, with a 2-0 win over Ecuador on Monday, booked its third straight U-17 World Cup semifinal appearance. Mexico faces Nigeria, which won the 2013 U-17 crown with a 3-0 final win over Mexico, on Thursday. Belgium, which defeated Costa Rica, 1-0, faces Mali in the other semifinal.

Under-17 World Cup: Schedule & Results

Mexico, which has beaten Argentina, Germany and host Chile at this U-17 World Cup, won its first championship in 2005 with a team that included Gio dos Santos and Carlos Vela. Nigeria, aiming for its record fifth title, beat Brazil, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. Belgium had qualified for only one previous U-17 World Cup, in 2007 when it exited in the first round. The Belgians tied Mali, 0-0, in their group opener before beating Honduras, 2-1, and falling to Ecuador, 2-0. They beat South Korea, 2-0, in the round of 16.

11 comments about "U.S. Soccer still banking on U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton".
  1. Ric Fonseca, November 3, 2015 at 6:11 p.m.

    Sorry, but the Bradenton concept needs to be put to rest. It may work for tennis or basketball, but for soccer, it leaves a lot to be desired, also having Mr. Williams continuing on is a sheer travesty to the kids he purportedly trained but crashed in flaming fashion!

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 4, 2015 at 12:22 p.m.

    I don't see the situation the same as you do. If the focus is on player development (as it should at that age), then there is no difference between training a soccer player and a basketball player from an athletic development perspective. The Bradenton concept was to create a soccer academy in the absence of professional club youth academies in the US. Compared to other countries, the US still has few professional club academies. I am not familiar with the USSF DA clubs. My suspicion is that they are more like glorified travel teams than professional club academies. At least the majority of them anyway.

  3. John DiFiore, November 4, 2015 at 2:57 a.m.

    The facilities at IMG are undisputedly World Class. Maybe just too much ebb and flow with that age group's skill level to bet on such a small number to do well against so many different styles of play. But why did it work for LD, Beaz, and so many others?

  4. Raymond Weigand, November 4, 2015 at 12:04 p.m.

    Ric ... I agree. I think the Galaxy also agrees. The Galaxy just started there own residency program with their club players in Carson. The idea of consolidating talent onto one location for a country with millions of players seems a little too lofty of a goal ... however, it was a great way to tap the money river of the USSF.

  5. Jeffrey Organ, November 4, 2015 at 1:45 p.m.

    To me it boils down to dollars and cents. My recollection is that this is a very expensive program. I personally do not see that the results justify the expense. This is a relic of the past that should be closed. Take the money and put it into growing and monitoring the Academy programs....rewarding the programs that produce players. This kind of decentralized model better fits our strengths as a country. I would also start holding the State Associations accountable for their ability to develop players. Looking at the U15 pool, I can't fathom why a state as big as Texas, with as many soccer players as they have, can produce only 1 player in this pool. As many as Rhode Island?

  6. R2 Dad replied, November 4, 2015 at 4:13 p.m.

    What it boils down to is this whole process isn't transparent. We don't understand the criteria used, and they're not saying. We don't even know who "they" are. There are 60 BU-15 names, yet none of them are from Arizona. This is my only reference; is there a better one out there?:
    This lists the top 5 teams in the country for U-15. The top two are from Arizona, yet there are no Arizonans on the list? None of the Cal-North players made it, either. If it's generally accepted that the better/best teams have the better/best players, why is this? If our process was a raging success, no one would care. But we're sucking, and still no accountability from US Soccer?

  7. Ric Fonseca, November 4, 2015 at 5 p.m.

    R2Dad, I agree with you, this is somewhat reminiscent of the now "antiquated" ODP programs that I helped administer when I was a District Commissioner of the former Cal Youth Soccer Assoc-South, which I must admit was rife with favoritism and rife with patronage, and some of those folks then doing the selection process are still involved. While glad to see the ODP retired, the academy and pay-for-play concept is just as bad, the identification and selection processes leave a lot to be desired, at times xenophobic, and while people walk, the mighty dollar talks. Accountability? We'll be lucky if we see the day, yet I am and always have been the perpetual optimist and see the glass full, so there is still hope that US Soccer and its hundreds (ought to be in the tens of thousands)of scouts and gurus will someday see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just pray it isn't a train coming!

  8. Jeffrey Organ replied, November 5, 2015 at 1:02 p.m.

    Ric and R2 Dad, I have a question for you and others like us. Why has this non-profit system been allowed to continue with the lack of transparency and business as usual, as long as it has? I have been following soccer as a fan and youth soccer parent for more than 40 years. The difference between when I first started following the sport and today is that there are thousands of regular people that are now personally or emotionally invested in this discussion. There are also tools available that easily allow us to connect with each other and move this dialogue forward. I am sick of the endless circular arguments about why our National teams continue to underperform. These have continued for a number of years and go nowhere. I suspect that there are a number of younger soccer professionals that are as sick of this entrenched process as we are. I am ready to start challenging the establishment. It only has any meaning, however, if we can build a critical mass of people willing to begin to hold the establishment accountable. I am willing to set up a website to begin this process. Do you two think there is any chance that this will gain any traction? I am not talking about immediate results....I am not naive enough to think the entrenched soccer financial machine will roll over. My idea of traction is to raise the noise level and move the dialogue forwarding in something other than the scattered message board based complaining that accomplishes nothing. I would be interested in your thoughts.

  9. R2 Dad, November 6, 2015 at 12:07 a.m.

    Jeffery, you are a glutton for punishment. This web site you're proposing is a sisyphean task, though also a good starting point. I'd suggest you document the existing process, and propose alternatives. Everyone has an opinion, but what's needed are mileposts in development that are minimum objective standards for performance/skill. Most importantly, what's needed is a way to quantify soccer IQ at those stages. It's kind of like pornography-you know it when you see it, but otherwise difficult to document. This aspect is most lacking and also the hardest to quantify/qualify--perhaps sports psychologists will assist? Many professional clubs have made inroads, so understanding best practices would also be helpful. Send us the URL !

  10. Bob Ashpole, November 6, 2015 at 2:45 a.m.

    "Minimum objective standards" doesn't work, if the objective is to maximize learning. The minimum standards become the teaching objectives and the result is organized mediocrity. Then there is the problem with pretending that subjective opinions are objective facts. That "minimum objective standard" approach will ensure a lack of creativity.

  11. R2 Dad replied, November 6, 2015 at 9:13 a.m.

    First, I'm not a coach nor an educator, so, caveat. Your point seems relevant in regard to the US school system and previous iterations of soccer approaches tried. I would argue soccer IQ and creativity are linked, but I don't know how strong that linkage is. Examples that come to mind for me are 1) US Soccer camp attendees at U17 and older level being introduced to futsal in order to develop foot skills. That seems backwards. 2) Fabian Johnson scored a goal at the world cup, bursting through from the back line on an unmarked run from the back field. Was that creativity, or is he a trained technician? I don't know how creative he is, but he does seem to have a decent soccer IQ. I'm not an expert on these issues, but somewhere along the way the process at US Soccer became a cluster that is not manageable under the current regime. Where inputs available do not lead to desired outputs. I'd like that to change in a way that energizes the community and leverages the vast numbers or youth players in this country.

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