“The No. 1 objective of this camp is to get international experience,” Tsakiris said. “That’s the main objective. Then of course, we are also there to continue to evaluate and monitor the progress of players on our depth chart.”
The team will face off against Argentino Juniors, San Lorenzo de Almagro and Racing Club de Avellaneda.
“Anytime you go down to South America, it’s always going to be different than the competition we get in Europe, especially the style of play,” Tsakiris continued. “I think this is a little more along the lines of what our players will face in Concacaf and I think that the style matches that and prepares our players a little bit better. So, anytime we can go to Argentina or Chile or Brazil or any of these top countries, I think it’s a great challenge for our players and ultimately, we want to prepare our players by giving them international experience.”
The friendlies will mark the competitive games for the U-16s since December’s IMG Cup in Bradenton Fla., where the team played a year up and swept its three group games, outscoring its opponents 17-0.
The age cut-off for this U-16 player pool Jan. 1, 2001. Defender George Bello (Atlanta United FC), born in 2002, is the youngest player in the squad.
U.S. U-16 boys national team
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicolas Defreitas-Hansen (Weston FC; Southwest Ranches, Fla.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.).
DEFENDERS (5): Julian Araujo (Santa Barbara SC; Lompoc, Calif.), George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.), John Hilton (LA Galaxy; Long Beach, Calif.), Leonardo Sepulveda (LA Galaxy; Corona, Calif.), Nathan Toledo (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas).
MIDFIELDERS (9): Everson Amaya Mejia (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), Mario Anaya (San Jose Earthquakes; Livermore, Calif.), Jordan Bender (Orlando City SC; Lake Mary, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake AZ; Eden, Utah), Cameron Duke (Sporting KC; Olathe, Kan.), Nelson Martinez Rivera (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.), Matko Miljevic (Argentinos Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy, Savannah Ga.).
FORWARDS (5): Nicholas Mendonca (Flamengo/BRA; Coconut Creek, Fla.), Benjamin Ortiz (La Roca FC; Orem, Utah), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas, Little Elm, Texas), Gabriel Segal (Bethesda-Olney; Bethesda, Md.), Jose Rivas (Weston FC; Weston, Fla.)