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:
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
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, 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.