Unseeded USA faces tough path to U-17 World Cup

By Mike Woitalla

Failing to earn a seed at the Concacaf U-17 Championship that will determine the region's four qualifiers for the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India, the USA faces stiff competition in its first-round group at the Panama-hosted tournament April 21-May 7.

To advance to the second round, the USA needs to finish in the top two of Group C, which includes Jamaica, Mexico and El Salvador.

El Salvador has never qualified for a U-17 World Cup, but Mexico is a two-time world champion, winning crowns in 2005 and 2011, and El Tri finished runner-up in 2013 and fourth in 2015.

Jamaica qualified for the U-17 World Cup twice, in 1999 and 2011, and nearly prevented the USA from qualifying for the 2015 World Cup. At the 2015 U-17 Concacaf Championship, the Reggae Boyz beat the USA, 1-0, in group play. The USA’s qualification came down to a penalty-kick shootout after a 1-1 tie in a playoff against Jamaica. The USA prevailed to finish tied for third with Costa Rica, behind runner-up Honduras and champion Mexico.

In recent U-17 friendlies played in Kingston, the USA beat Jamaica twice, 3-0 and 4-0.

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Groups:
Group A: *Panama, Honduras, Curacao, Haiti
Group B: *Costa Rica, Canada, Cuba, Suriname
Group C: *Mexico, El Salvador, Jamaica, USA
* Seeded

The top two teams in each of the first-round three groups advance to the “classification stage,” comprised of two three-team groups, the top two finishers of each of which will qualify for the World Cup. The second-round group winners will meet in the final.

"It's a tough draw, but I think our team is determined to be able to represent our country in a World Cup," said U.S. coach John Hackworth said. "We are going to plan accordingly for three very tough opponents to start the tournament. We will get ready to make sure that we are prepared for everything anyone can throw at us."

At the 2015 U-17 World Cup, the USA exited in the first round and Hackworth replaced Richie Williams at the helm afterward. Williams was coach the when the USA’s record streak of qualifying for all previous 14 U-17 World Cups ended in 2013.

Costa Rica, which reached quarterfinals of the U-17 World Cup, was awarded a seed at the 2017 Concacaf Championship along with host Panama and Mexico.

Mexico fell to eventual champion Nigeria at both of the last U-17 World Cups, in the final in 2013 and the semis in 2015. Costa Rica, at the 2015 World Cup, beat France in the round of 16 and fell to eventual third-place finisher, Belgium, in the quarterfinals.

Earlier this month, the Hackworth’s team won the Nike International Friendlies by beating Brazil (3-0), Turkey (5-1) and Portugal (7-1).

The 2017 U-17 World Cup takes place in India Oct. 6-28.

USA's Group C Schedule:
Sunday, April 23 vs. Jamaica
Wednesday, April 26 vs. Mexico
Saturday, April 29 vs. El Salvador

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U.S. U-16 boys to compete at IMG Cup

The U.S. U-16 boys national team’s 23-player squad for the IMG Cup Dec. 17-Dec. 19 in Bradenton, Florida, includes Sebastian Berhalter, the 15-year-old son of former U.S. World Cup player and current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Nine players on Coach Shaun Tsakiris’ roster are national team debutants and it includes five players currently in the U-17 national team Residency program: Taylor Booth, Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen, Bryan Reynolds, Indiana Vassilev and Marcelo Palomino. Reynolds recently signed a pro contract with FC Dallas.

U.S. U-16 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen (Weston FC; Southwest Ranches, Fla.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake Ariz.; Casa Grande, Ariz.).
DEFENDERS (6): Julian Araujo (Santa Barbara Soccer Club; Lompoc, Calif.), George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.), Nico Benalcazar (NYCFC; Wilton, Conn.), Edward Berumen (Sacramento Republic FC; Salida, Calif.), John Hilton (LA Galaxy; Long Beach, Calif.), Leonardo Sepulveda (LA Galaxy; Corona, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Sebastian Berhalter (Crew SC Academy; Westerville, Ohio), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake AZ; Eden, Utah), Oscar Cervantes (LA Premier FC; Indio, Calif.), Justin Haak (NYCFC, Brooklyn, N.Y.), Nelson Martinez (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.), Jonathan Munoz (Sporting Kansas City; Olathe, Kan.), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.).
FORWARDS (7): Everson Amaya (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), Azriel Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders FC; Renton, Wash.), Cameron Harper (Pateadores; Newport Beach, Calif.), Ben Ortiz (La Roca; Orem, Utah), Axel Picazo (Philadelphia Union; Round Rock, Texas), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Gabe Segal (Bethesda SC; Bethesda, Md.).

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U.S. Soccer holds girls striker-keeper camp

U.S. Soccer is holding its first striker-goalkeeper camp for U-15, U-16 and U-17 girls national team players. The Dec. 14-17 camp in Carson, California, gathers 22 attackers and seven keepers born in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and is headed by Technical Director April Heinrichs, Development Coach and U-15 girls national team coach Mark Carr and U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper coach Graeme Abel.

Other staff at the camp: 2015 Women’s World Cup winners Heather O’Reilly and Lori Chalupny; 1995 U.S. World Cup player, Jen Lalor; former U.S. national team players Kacey White and Christie Welsh; and former U.S. goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart and Jill Loyden; Western New York Flash’s Makenzy Doniak; former U.S. U-20 keeper Val Henderson; former U-20 international Danesha Adams; and former WPS goalkeeper Katie Hultin.

“You develop world-class finishers over time and with lots of hours spent with the ball, but this event is about providing inspiration and guidance from some excellent role models so that these young players can return to their club environments and work on their own to hone their skills,” said Heinrichs. “The rationale for this kind of event is to emphasize the process of developing world class attacking players at all levels of our girls’ national team programs.”

U.S. 2016 Strikers and Goalkeepers Camp Roster
GOALKEEPERS (7): Angelina Anderson (Mustang SC, Danville, Calif.), Hensley Hancuff (Oklahoma FC; Edmond, Okla.), Ruthie Jones (Charlotte SA; Charlotte, N.C.), Mia Justus (PDA; North Brunswick, N.J.), Meagan McCelland (PDA; Kearny, N.J.), Kathryn Meyer (Real So Cal; Newbury Park, Calif.), Lindsey Romig (IMG Academy; Midloathian, Va.).
ATTACKERS (22): Jordan Canniff (Richmond United; California, Md.), Kayla Colbert (Arsenal FC; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Talia DellaPeruta (Tophat SC; Cumming, Ga.), Maya Doms (Davis Legacy; Davis, Calif.), Kailyn Dudukovich (Cincinnati United; West Chester, Ohio), Mia Fishel (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Sunshine Fontes (Honolulu Bulls SC; Wahiawa, Hawaii), Lia Godfrey (Armada FC; Fleming Island, Fla.), Rachel Jones (Tophat 18; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Payton Linnehan (FC Stars of Mass; Douglas, Mass.), Samantha Meza (Dallas Kicks; Balch Springs, Texas), Jenna Nighswonger (Slammers FC; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Gabrielle Robinson (BRYC Elite Academy; Springfield, Va.), Trinity Rodman (So Cal Blues; Newport Beach, Calif.), Michaela Rosenbaum (Santa Rosa United; Rohnert Park, Calif.), Ashlynn Serepca (Carolina Rapids; Cornelius, N.C.), Sophie Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexas Spannstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), Kaylssa Van Zanten (Eclipse Select SC; Buffalo Grove, Ill.), Kate Wienser (Slammers FC; Monrovia, Calif.), Summer Yates (Pac NW; Pasco, Wash.).

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U.S. U-18s women finish cycle with final camp of 2016

The U.S. U-18 women's national team, coached by Jitka Klimkova, is holding its seventh and final camp of 2016 is Dec. 10-17 in Carson, California, before moving into the U-20 age group.

The squad is comprised of 14 collegians and 12 youth club players. Twenty of the players were born in 1998, the age cut-off year for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and six were born in 1999. This age group aims qualify for the next 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup.

U.S. U-18 women's national team
GOALKEEPERS (3): Shelby Hogan (Providence; Franklin, Mass.), Kaylan Marckese (Florida; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Mandy McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (8): Kerry Abello (Eclipse Select; Batavia, Ill.), Malia Berkely (Florida State; Liberty Township, Ohio), Sydney Dawson (Internationals SC; Akron, Ohio), Samantha Hiatt (Boston College; Newcastle, Wash.), Julie Mackin (Clemson; Castle Rock, Colo.), Tara McKeown (San Diego Surf; Newbury Park, Calif.), Zoe Morse (Michigan Hawks; East Lansing, Mich.), Karlie Paschall (Tennessee Soccer Club; Brentwood, Tenn.).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Samantha Coffey (New York SC; Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; Menlo Park, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Texas Tech; Sachse, Texas), Taylor Kornieck (Colorado; Henderson, Nev.), Shea Moyer (FC Revolution; Wyomissing, Penn.), Viviana Villacorta (Beach FC; Lawndale, Calif.), Natalie Winters (Iowa; Evergreen, Colo.), Nicole Whitley (Rutgers; Freehold, N.J.).
FORWARDS (7): Amirah Ali (PDA; Voorhees, N.J.), Belle Briede (Tophat SC; Alpharetta, Ga.), Ceilia Gee (Lamarinda United; Orinda, Calif.), Mireya Grey (Crossfire; Seattle, Wash.), Abigail Kim (Pacific Northwest SC; Vashon, Wash.), Courtney Strode (Vaxjo DFF; Oceanside, Calif.), Kelsey Turnbow (SC Del Sol; Scottsdale, Ariz.).

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U.S. U-16 girls wrap up with California camp

The U-16 girls national team, coached by Jaime Frias, held its sixth and final training camp of 2016 with a 24-player squad Dec. 3-10 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The camp completes a two-year cycle for this age group, which becomes the U-18s and then the U-20s with the aim of qualifying for the 2020 U-20 Women's World Cup.

U.S. U-16 girls national team
GOALKEEPERS (3): Katherine Asman (Tophat SC; Roswell, Ga.), Mackenna Carmichael (Surf; Mission Viejo, Calf.), Caitlin McManus (Irvine Strikers; Riverside, Calif.).
DEFENDERS (8): Maycee Bell (Sporting Blue Valley; Olathe, Kans.), Madelyn Desiano (So Cal Blues; San Clemente, Calif.), Sierra Enge (So Cal Blues; Cardiff, Calif.), Shae Holmes (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township; N.J.), Brianna Martinez (New Mexico Rush; Albuquerque, N.M.), Sarah Piper (Texas Rush; The Woodlands, Texas), Leah Scarpelli (PDA; Brick, N.J.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Claudia Dickey (Crossfire; Seattle, Wash.), Coriana Dyke (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Carlee Giammona (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Sophie Hirst (Crossfire; Seattle, Wash.), Kali Trevethick (Surf; Temecula, Calif.), Madeline Vergura (FC Stars of Mass.), Natalie Viggiano (Michigan Hawks; Macomb Township, Mich.).
FORWARDS (6): Ravin Alexander (Ohio Elite; Fairfield, Ohio), Molly Myers (Oceanside Breakers FC; Oceanside, Calif.), Mackenna Morris (Bethesda; Germantown, Md.), Skylar Smith (Surf; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Emaly Vatne (Michigan Hawks; Sterling Heights, Mich.), Olivia Wingate (FC Stars of Mass.; Wilmington, Md.).

1 comment about "Unseeded USA faces tough path to U-17 World Cup".
  1. Quarterback TD, December 15, 2016 at 9:50 a.m.

    I honestly don't see what the problem is here. Maybe except for Mexico we are over exaggerating the competition compare to what we have on the US squad.

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