U.S. U-17 camp roster includes 15-year-old George Bello

A few days before he will announce the USA's 21-player roster for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, Coach John Hackworth has called in 23 players for a Sept. 19-24 training camp in Bradenton, Florida, that includes 15-year-old Atlanta United defender George Bello.

Sixteen of the players in camp were on the USA’s 20-player roster during its runner-up finish at the Concacaf U-17 Championship that served as World Cup qualifying. The four not in camp are: defender Arturo Vasquez, midfielder Adrian Villegas and forwards Zyen Jones and Timothy Weah.

Weah, however, is likely to join the World Cup roster from France, where he is starring for Paris St. Germain’s U-19s. He signed a three-year pro contract with PSG last July.

Three players on the World Cup roster must be goalkeepers. Alex Budnik of Sockers FC is the keeper currently in camp who wasn’t part of qualifying.

The other players in camp who weren’t part of qualifying are Netherlands-based Sergino Dest, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Ulysses Llanez, NYCFC defender Tyler Shaver, Galaxy midfielder Alex Mendez and Bello.

Bello had been playing for the U.S. U15s, which last month finished runner-up to Mexico at the Concacaf U-15 Championship. He was this year’s Development Academy U-14/16 East Conference Player of the Year and in June signed a Homegrown contract with Atlanta United, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The USA opens the U-17 World Cup against India on Oct. 6.

U.S. U-17 national team:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (Benfica/POR; Philadelphia, Pa. ), Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC academy; Miami, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (9): George Bello (Atlanta United FC, Douglasville, Ga.), Sergino Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls academy; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC academy; Greenwich, Conn.), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers academy, Fort Wayne, Ind.). 
MIDFIELDERS (6): George Acosta (North Carolina FC academy; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake academy; Eden, Utah), Blaine Ferri (Solar Soccer Club; Southlake, Texas), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Alex Mendez (LA Galaxy academy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached; Savannah, Ga.). 
FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC academy; Brampton Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy academy; Lynwood, Calif.), Jacobo Reyes (Monterrey/MEX; Houston, Texas), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O'Fallon, Mo.).

7 comments about "U.S. U-17 camp roster includes 15-year-old George Bello ".
  1. Peter Zen, September 19, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.

    I feel this story is really tragic, from my quick count 19 players come from MLS Academy teams. What ever happened to rising through the ranks of ODP to make the national team?

  2. don Lamb replied, September 19, 2017 at 10:38 a.m.

    Kidding, right? What we have now is 1000x better than relying on the ODP system.

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 19, 2017 at 12:40 p.m.

    Maybe he means it's tragic that we relied on ODP for as long as we did.

  4. Scott Johnson replied, September 20, 2017 at 2:40 p.m.

    There is a concern that players growing up in places without MLS (or equivalent USSDA) academies might be getting short shrift--in some places, ODP may be the best thing available. OTOH, at a certain level of competition, "if you wanna be a star you gotta be on Broadway" may apply; talented soccer players in e.g. North Dakota may at some point have to move if they are interested in a soccer career. This is an improvement on the old system where kids in soccer-hotbed cities still had to take a residency in Florida if they wanted a shot.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 22, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    Jaylin Lindsey from this very U17 team is an example of that. He moved from NC to KC to play in Sporting's academy.

  6. Right Winger, September 19, 2017 at 12:18 p.m.

    The ODP program was doomed for failure from the start many, many years ago. It was a political football so to speak. Scratch my back and I will scratch yours. To hell with the best players.

  7. Forever Blue, September 19, 2017 at 5:47 p.m.

    He must be joking

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