U.S. U-17 boys thumped by Japan at Jezek tournament

After opening the 2017 Vaclav Jezek Tournament in the Czech Republic with wins over Hungary (4-1) and Russia (3-1), the U.S. U-17 boys national team fell, 4-0, to Japan. The loss sent Coach John Hackworth’s team into the third-place game, which it won, 4-0, over Iceland. Japan beat host Czech Republic, 4-2, in the final.

Japan, which in group play also beat Russia (1-0) and Hungary (5-2), and the USA were only teams at the tournament who had qualified for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, which kicks of in India Oct. 6.

Against the USA, Japan took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to 27th minute on a goal by Keito Nakamura. Taisei Miyashiro’s goals in the 49th and 88th minutes sandwiched a 81st minute strike from Koki Saito.

The USA faces host India, Colombia and Ghana in Group A at the U-17 World Cup.

Jezek Placement Games
Japan 4 Czech Republic 2
Third place
USA 4 Iceland 0
Fifth place
Ukraine 4 Russia 1
Seventh place
Hungary 4 Slovakia 0

The USA's strong start included the golazo by Atlanta United's Chris Goslin in the win over Russia:

U.S. U-17 boys roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (Benfica/POR), Justin Garces (Atlanta United academy).
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United academy), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls academy), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC academy), James Sands (New York City FC), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC academy), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers academy).
MIDFIELDERS (7): George Acosta (North Carolina FC academy), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake academy), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy academy), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached).
FORWARDS (6): Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy academy), Alejandro Pereira (Orlando City academy), Jacobo Reyes (Monterrey/MEX), Josh Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri), Timothy Weah (Paris SG/FRA).

23 comments about "U.S. U-17 boys thumped by Japan at Jezek tournament ".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 27, 2017 at 1:56 p.m.

    Two words, one name: Tom Byer, an American coach abroad. He has been a big influence on youth development in Asia. I don't think Japan's tournament success and an early focus on technical competence is a coincidence.

  2. don Lamb replied, August 27, 2017 at 2:21 p.m.

    Japan is the only country that I know of with a better trajectory than the US when it comes to player development. Truly impressive what they are doing. My impression is that it has to do with a lot more than just Tom Byer, who is focused on the most basic phase of player development. Based on the talent level of their players and the way that ALL of their teams play, Japan has to have an extremely sophisticated and committed approach to player development across the board.

  3. frank schoon replied, August 28, 2017 at 10:28 a.m.

    Bob, Japan from the outset did it the right right in the beginning with their soccer development. They ,right away hired , Brazilians , Dutch , as to compared to the English, Germans we had and who still have a large influence here in US youth soccer.

  4. don Lamb, August 27, 2017 at 2:24 p.m.

    What a golazo by Goslin! That kid has an extremely bright future. At least we beat mighty Iceland! I wonder if H and Kumar noticed?

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 28, 2017 at 9:16 a.m.

    Yeah I saw that. Couldn't believe it because according to Kumar Iceland is a player development powerhouse that we should be trying to emulate.

  6. don Lamb replied, August 31, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

    Per capita? Do they hand out trophies per capita? How much competition from other sports does soccer have in Costa Rica and Iceland? Give me a break.

  7. don Lamb, August 27, 2017 at 2:27 p.m.

    Also, Japan beat Czech Republic 4-2 in the final, not 4-0. It was 2-2 at the half.

  8. Goal Goal, August 27, 2017 at 9:10 p.m.

    Don, explain US has better trajectory. When, where and how. And maybe who.

  9. don Lamb replied, August 27, 2017 at 9:27 p.m.

    Trajectory has nothing to do with our relative strength, so I am not saying that we are among the top 5 or even 10 producers of talent right now. I am saying that compared to where we were 5/10 years ago, only Japan has climbed further. When - The last 10 years has led to a night and day difference in the commitment level and expectations for youth development. The next 10 will be where the rubber hits the road and when we can become a top developer of talent relative to the world's powers. Where - Here and abroad. The US is in a unique position. If the trend continues as it has, we will have a complete system of development providing a pathway for young players to progress from top prospect to top class. We also have the best clubs and leagues in the world scouting talent and setting up their own infrastructure here. How - The development of the academy system (which is still filling out at the younger ages and throughout the country and hopefully to even more lower income prospects), the development of USL and the lower leagues, and the development of MLS itself are all adding up to create this aforementioned system of development. Add to that the growing emphasis on pickup games and futsal, and the growing knowledge base of parents who can play with their children at home, and there is no reason we can't have one of the best environments and cultures for developing players in the next decade or so. Who - Pulisic, McKinnie, Sargent, Carleton, Goslin, Reyna, Fuentes, Gaines x2, Wright, etc. These kids are the beginning of the movement...

  10. Goal Goal, August 27, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.

    You mention quite a few players on the boys U15 NT. Have you actually seen this team play?

  11. don Lamb replied, August 27, 2017 at 10:24 p.m.

    Three kids from the 15s. Yeah. I don't have an intimate knowledge of any of them, but I can't wait to see a lot more of them. Especially Fuentes. I didn't mention Busio, who is the first pro out of that bunch. Bello looks like a big prospect as well. I'm not saying that all of these kids are going to be world class players, but they have the look of legit prospects, and for the first time ever, there is a domestic pathway for them to take the steps to get to that level.

  12. Jay Wall, August 28, 2017 at 9:04 a.m.

    Japan has, for at least the last 5 years, been bringing in coaches from several of the most successful professional clubs in Sao Paulo, Brasil for assistance in developing both their soccer and futsal programs. Like most crowded nations in the major cities futsal is played in small spaces including on roof top courts. >> And while Japan has been making good progress in player development friends comment on the cultural difference in coaching and player development. In training and coaching the culture dictates that the younger individual defer to the older, as the elder is assumed to be wiser and more experienced.

  13. Nick Daverese, August 28, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    I think some Japanese coaches are now working in china to bring up their youth players game. There are even some Japanese coaches hiring some American coaches to help them. I know one that did it for three months He normally lives in Hawaii.

  14. Goal Goal, August 29, 2017 at 1:16 a.m.

    So what does that say about our coaching at the DA level and even the national team level?

  15. don Lamb replied, August 29, 2017 at 10:12 a.m.

    Going back to the beginning of 2016, the U17s are 27-7-4 (W-T-L). That includes wins over Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Belgium, France,Turkey, ICELAND!, and Costa Rica x2. (And, it turns out that the Brazil roster that the US handed it to last December was almost identical to the roster they used in CONMEBOL qualifying, including Vinicius Jr. and their other top prospects. Too bad Kumar isn't around to see how wrong he was... [again].) The losses include this wax job by Japan, and others to Mexico, Panama, and Turkey. The majority of these games were against competition outside of CONCACAF -- we were 14-1-2 in CONCACAF, 13-6-2 ouside. All in all, I'd say we are doing alright with our coaching and player development at the DA and national team level.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, August 29, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

    don Lamb, I don't always agree with your opinions (usually I do), but your knowledge of what is happening always impresses me.

  17. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, August 29, 2017 at 12:36 p.m.

    Don's right. The U17s also had some lopsided wins in this tournament, let's not forget that.

  18. don Lamb replied, August 29, 2017 at 10:53 p.m.

    Thanks Bob - Respect to you as well. As to the Japan game, we finally have some context now that the game report has been released. First of all, it looks like Sargent was injured early in the game as he was subbed out in the 2nd minute. Let's hope that is was a simple muscle injury and nothing serious (he did not play at all against Iceland, so it definitely appears to have been an injury). The other major point that sticks out is that it appears the US switched to a 3-5-2 in the 62nd minute with the insertion of Goslin and Llanez for Sands and Ferri. They had apparently experimented with a 3-5-2 for about 40 minutes against Hungary, but that is an extremely difficult system to get used to. Acosta, who had come in for Sargent, was then subbed out for Vassilev in the 73rd. Overall, this game seems to be a hodge-podge that presented serious tactical and personnel challenges. Japan alone would have been a big enough challenge to overcome, and I'm not sure that we would have been up for it. Let's just hope that Sargent is okay -- even if he is out for the World Cup, hopefully this is not something that will affect him longer term as he appears to be moving to Germany this winter.

  19. don Lamb replied, August 29, 2017 at 11:06 p.m.

    Some interesting notes from the Iceland game, too. The US played the entire second half down a man as Goslin got his second yellow in the 41st minute (the only two cards issued in the game). Hackworth went to 3 in the back at halftime with what must have been an interesting tactical switch playing with only 10. Looks like it was a 3-3-3 functioning like 433 but without wingbacks advancing as high as usual. In any case, the takeaway here is that we somehow beat the mighty talent producer Iceland 4-0, scoring two of those goals while down a man for more than a half. Kumar must be damn proud of our boys tonight!

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, August 31, 2017 at 9:25 a.m.

    Ed, I am not familiar with Brazil, but my impression is that 16-18 year old players in Brazil are professionals, not amateurs. College and DA players are amateurs. The US also has child labor hours restricting the number of hours children can work. For that reason I don't expect to see US clubs giving professional contracts to players under 16.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, August 31, 2017 at 10:32 a.m.

    Ed professionals get paid. Are you talking about 15 year old players who get paid. There has been a few young MLS players, but they don't play in the DA or for a college. USSF classifies players as professional or amateur so there should not be any confusion as to a players status. The child labor laws caused problems with Freddy Adu. Below a certain age, being a professional actually reduces the available training time. All time related to employment counts. Travel time for instance counts. So an East Coast team with a West Coast away game eats up a lot of the available time for that week. Then the club has to worry about the differences in state laws when they travel.

  22. don Lamb replied, August 31, 2017 at 10:48 a.m.

    Bob is exactly right. And that is the reason USL and USL2 are humongous factors for us in player development. The transition from amateur to professional has not been very good in the US. That can change with more lower level professional teams around the country and those professional teams starting their own academies and creating more and more pathways for young players to get minutes as professionals.

  23. don Lamb replied, August 31, 2017 at 8:01 p.m.

    By the way, this atmosphere of strong player development at smaller professional clubs around the country is the thing that will push promotion/relegation and training compensation/solidarity fees; not lawsuits from pay to play amateur clubs.

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