Meet the USA's U-17 World Cup players

By Mike Woitalla

The USA did poorly at the last U-17 World Cup, failing to reach the second round in 2015, but that team included: Christian Pulisic, now already a Bundesliga star, Tyler Adams, a New York Red Bulls starter, and Haji Wright, who’s playing in the German second division for second-place Sandhausen.

Based on that track record, some of the boys headed to India to represent the USA at the 2017 U-17 World Cup are likely to be players we hear about in the future at the higher levels.

They’ll also be aiming to improve on what have been disappointing results for the U-17 national team program since the Landon Donovan-led team finished fourth at the 1999 U-17 World Cup.

For Coach John Hackworth’s team, the short-term goal is to become the first U.S. team to win a knockout stage game since 1999. The long-term hope is that the World Cup experience in India helps players climb the ladder as it did Donovan, Pulisic and many others, such as Claudio Reyna (1989), Jozy Altidore (2005) and Kellyn Acosta (2011).

Meet the 2017 U.S U-17 World Cup players:

Player (birth year) club/hometown
Alex Budnik (2000) Sockers FC/Arlington Heights, Ill.
Selected for iD2 trip to Italy in 2014, and was part of U.S. U-15 and U-16 national team pool before joining Bradenton Residency camp in 2016. Not part of qualifying, when the squad included only two keepers.

Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (2000) Benfica (POR)/Philadelphia
Born to a Cape Verdean father and Portuguese mother. Moved from Philadelphia, where he spent three seasons in the Philadelphia Union academy, before moving to Portuguese club Benfica's academy program. Played one game in qualifying tournament.

Justin Garces (2000) Atlanta United FC academy/Miami, Fla.
Started five of the six qualifying games, at the Concacaf U-17 Championship, and earned Gold Glove award as USA finished runner-up to Mexico. Raised in Florida, the son of a Venezuelan mother and a Cuban-Ecuadoran father.

Justin Garces

Sergino Dest
(2000) Ajax (NED)/Almere-stad, Netherlands)
Dutch-born right back saw action for U-17s in 2016 but wasn’t part of qualifying squad. Currently on Ajax’s U-19 team.

Christopher Gloster (2000) New York Red Bulls academy/Montclair, N.J.
Starting outside back in qualifying made an USL appearance for Red Bulls II in 2016 USL season.

Jaylin Lindsey (2000) Sporting Kansas City/Charlotte, N.C.
Best Best XI right back at Concacaf U-17 Championship. Carolina product joined Sporting KC Academy in January 2015. Signed academy contract with Sporting Kansas City USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers in May 2016 and signed MLS Homegrown contract in September 2017 that kicks in on Jan. 1, 2018.

James Sands (2000) New York City FC/Rye, N.Y.
A central defense Best XI pick at Concacaf U-17 Championship. Became New York City FC’s first Homegrown signing in June of 2017. Made MLS debut Sept. 16 as 67th sub in 1-1 tie with Columbus.

Tyler Shaver (2000) New York City FC academy/Greenwich, Conn.
A consistent starter in early 2016 before suffering a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear in the summer of last year. Returned to play a few months ago and saw action in last month’s Vaclav Jezek Tournament in the Czech Republic. Arrived at NYCFC academy via Beachside SC and New York SC before joining Bradenton Residency.

Akil Watts (2000) Portland Timbers academy/Fort Wayne, Ind.
Played for Fort Wayne United, whose alum include DaMarcus Beasley, before joining IMG Academy. Started twice in qualifying and came off bench twice. Moved to Portland to join Timbers academy when Bradenton residency ended.

George Acosta (2000) North Carolina FC academy/Hollywood, Fla.
Spent time at Argentine club Estudiantes de la Plata at age 14. Father is Colombian. Appeared in five qualifying games.

Taylor Booth (2001) Real Salt Lake academy/Eden, Utah
Played for La Roca in Utah before moving to Real Salt Lake Arizona. Both parents, Chad and Kelli, were soccer stars at Weber High School in Pleasant View, Utah. Started two qualifiers and came off bench once.

Christopher Durkin (2000) D.C. United/Glen Allen, Va.
A central midfield Best XI pick at Concacaf U-17 Championship. Signed Homegrown contract with D.C. United on June 14, 2016. Played in a U.S. Open Cup for D.C. United and has made 17 appearances in the USL for D.C. United affiliate Richmond Kickers.

Blaine Ferri (2000) Solar Chelsea/Southlake, Texas
Started four games in qualifying. Scored and assisted in 4-3 group-stage win over Mexico and assisted in 3-0 win over Honduras. Father Ray played college soccer at Creighton and briefly with the indoor Dallas Sidekicks in 1994.

Christopher Goslin (2000) Atlanta United/Locust Grove, Ga.
Signed Homegrown contract with Atlanta United in October 2016. Played in five of six qualifiers. Starred on U-16 Georgia United team, along with Andrew Carleton, that in the 2014-15 season was the only non-MLS club to reach the Development semifinals.

Christopher Goslin

Indiana Vassilev (2001) unattached/Savannah, Ga.
Georgia native is son of Bulgarian immigrants. Moved to IMG Academy in 2015. Joined U.S. U-17 Residency Program in 2016 fall semester after starring with U.S. U-16s. Appeared in two qualifiers.

Ayomide Akinola (2000) Toronto FC academy/Brampton, Ontario
Born in Michigan and grew up in Ontario, Canada. In qualifying, scored against Jamaica (twice), Mexico, and Honduras. Has played for Toronto FC II in USL.

Andrew Carleton (2000) Atlanta United/Powder Springs, Ga.
Signed Homegrown contract with Atlanta United in June 2016. Became youngest player to play a USL game last September while on loan to Charleston Battery. Made MLS debut with four-minute appearance last May, shortly after his two-goal, three-assist performance at Concacaf U-17 Championship.

Jacobo Reyes (2000) Monterrey (MEX)/Houston, Texas
Texas native played for Monterrey’s U-20s. Called into U.S. U-14s in 2014 while already at Monterrey. Broke into U-17s this summer.

Bryan Reynolds (2001) FC Dallas/Little Elm, Texas
Signed FC Dallas Homegrown contract at age 15 in November 2016. Part of FC Dallas' 2016 U-16 Development Academy national championship team. Father Keith Reynolds played college soccer at SMU. Started once in qualifying.

Joshua Sargent (2000) Scott Gallagher Missouri/O’Fallen, Mo.
Scored four goals at the U-20 World Cup that kicked two weeks after he scored five goals in U-17 World Cup qualifying. Agreed to pro contract with Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, to go into effect when he turns 18 on Feb. 20.

Joshua Sargent

Timothy Weah (2000) Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)/Rosedale, N.Y.
New York product is son of the former Liberian great George Weah, the 1995 World Player of the Year. In qualifying, scored once and assisted twice, including in 1-1 tie against Mexico in final that USA lost on PKs, Signed pro contract with Paris St. Germain last June. Averaging more than a goal every 90 minutes for PSG in UEFA Youth League.

Ulysses Llanez
(2001) LA Galaxy academy/Lynwood, Calif.
The forward was called up to U-17s after starring on Los Angeles Galaxy’s U-15/16 and U-17/18 Development Academy teams. Had attended Mexico U-16 camp in 2016 before returning to U.S. program. Scored gamewinner for U-17s in 1-0 over Chile in August friendly.

USA U-17 World Cup Group A schedule
Oct. 6 India-USA 10:30 am ET.
Oct. 9 USA-Ghana 7:30 am ET.
Oct. 12 USA-Colombia 10:30 am ET.
(All games broadcast on Fox Sports2 & Universo)

18 comments about "Meet the USA's U-17 World Cup players".
  1. Ric Fonseca, September 21, 2017 at 4:37 p.m.

    CONGRATULATIONS, but hey, how come only four-Hispanic surname players? Seems that all of the talk about being inclusive at/for all age brackets aint working. Porque???

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 21, 2017 at 4:47 p.m.

    So we should have quotas for guys with "hispanic sounding surnames"?

  3. feliks fuksman, September 22, 2017 at 10:46 a.m.

    Like what I saw when they played their matches to qualify for the WC..Looking forward to watch them again...

  4. Ric Fonseca, September 22, 2017 at 3:54 p.m.

    FPGN: If you fail to see the "irony" of the selectees, vis-a-vis the overwhelming numer of "hispanic sounding names (sic)" in the country, then mi amigo, you need to put more salsa in your burritos and wake up and smell the tacos al carbon and the delicious pupusas! Entiende Usted?

  5. Gus Keri replied, September 22, 2017 at 4:48 p.m.

    Ric, Hispanics population represents 17% of the total US population. 4 Hispanics out of 22 on this team is 18%. They are fairly represented.

  6. don Lamb replied, September 22, 2017 at 6:48 p.m.

    Yo no entiendo, Ric. Are you suggesting that the majority of people in this country have latin surnames? Also, have you seen this team play? Are you suggesting that some of these guys aren't good enough just because their last names are not latin?

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 22, 2017 at 6:50 p.m.

    Yes Don, you second question is exactly what he's suggesting. It's offensive on its face especially when he doesn't bother to name anyone he thinks was wrongly left out.

  8. cisco martinez, September 23, 2017 at 5:57 p.m.

    I don't think Hispanic sur names is the issue. I would argue the reason why there aren't more Hispanic sur names is the same reason why coaches choose physical and athletic players because our coaches generally come from British backgrounds where the style of play emphasizes this. We as a country need to value the technical and tactical aspect of the game and the player, afterall the countries that win World Cups and champions league come from Latin based countries, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, France, And Uruguay. Moreover, when will we start hiring coaches from these countries? Last time I checked the Argentina coach in Atlanta is doing just fine.

  9. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 24, 2017 at 10:52 a.m.

    I think that critique is a bit out of date.

  10. cisco martinez, September 24, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.

    Is it? Name me some USSF coaches that come from those nations? If you look at them they are generally Dutch, American, And British. Only tab Ramos, Uruguayan-American descent has done well. The U-14-18 coaches are American, none come from the countries I've noted. Again, I am only suggesting that the type of players our coaches are choosing tend to be more physical and athletic attributes than technical or tactical. This happened when I was at the Region IV level and in college, players that had great technical ability getting passed up because they didn't have pure speed.

  11. cisco martinez, September 24, 2017 at 12:11 p.m.

    U-15 coach, van der bergh, u-16, Shaun tsakiris, u-17, hack worth, u-18, nazimiri, u-19, Brad Friedel, u-20 Ramos, u-23 formerly herzog; I ask is this critique outdated?

  12. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 24, 2017 at 4:31 p.m.

    Yes totally outdated.

  13. cisco martinez, September 24, 2017 at 9:31 p.m.

    I see you didn't provide facts for your opinion? Silence of facts is deafening.

  14. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 25, 2017 at 9:43 a.m.

    You made a broad statement that most of our coaches are British when it looks like none are. We were talking about coaches in general, not YNT coaches. But I believe all of the YNT coaches are American (Herzog is gone). Not surprising considering this is America.

  15. cisco martinez, September 25, 2017 at 11:33 a.m.

    Now your misquoting me. I said, "..they are generally Dutch, American, and British. " We were talking about YNT because that's what the article is about and I even listed Our Youth coaches and it so happens that they are American, Dutch and look at the regional coaches and evaluators they are British. Nearly every coach in CYSA-N were British, Colin McDonald, Colin Lindoris,etc.

  16. cisco martinez, September 25, 2017 at 12:33 p.m.

    Moreover, the main point I was making wasn't about race or ethnicity, it was the style that American, Dutch, and British coaches favor versus more technical players. Why don't we have a true #10? Why isn't US soccer trying to create a style of play? Carlos bilardo said it well and I will paraphrase him, Argentina they play a 4-4-2 diamond formation, that's why we have the best creative midfielders in the world, if you want wingers play for Brazil. I would argue that having physical/athletic players in the midfield is what is hindering our ability to breakdown defenses that are compact. We have some that aren't being used Feilhaber is a great example of one.

  17. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 25, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    We are dealing in broad stereotypes here but Dutch coaches don't like technical players? As a broad statement, I'll agree if we are talking about the English (or British) game but not Dutch. I think US Soccer is trying to create a "style of play." I actually don't agree with the idea of having a national style, I think the ability of the players should dictate formation/tactics etc., not the other way around.

  18. cisco martinez, September 25, 2017 at 9:58 p.m.

    The best teams have a style, Italy catennaccio, Brazil play the beautiful game, Germany are physical and tactical, English, physical and direct, Spain, tiki taka; this is not to say that STRATEGiES can't be different. What is USA's soccer identity? I think the only thing Klinsmann got right was that a teams style and the players must fit the culture of the nation, We are trying to be other nations and we need to create our own identity.

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