New cycle: U.S. U-17s drop Nike Friendlies opener to England on late goal

The U.S. under-17 men's national team began a new cycle with a 1-0 loss to England in the opening game at the annual Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

The lone goal was scored in the 79th minute of the 80-minute match when Taylor Harwood-Bellis headed in Benjamin Knight's corner kick.

Goalkeeper Damien Las kept the USA in the game with seven saves, including excellent stops in the first half on Alexander Mighten and Harwood-Bellis.

Until Harwood-Bellis' goal, the best chances in the second half came in the 69th minute when Sam Greenwood hit the right post and Cole Palmer's follow-up shot was nodded away by U.S. defender Mason Judge.

Next up: The USA faces the Netherlands, a 2-1 loser to Brazil, in its second match on Friday. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET and can be seen live on U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and

Nov. 29 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
USA U-17s 0 England U-17s 1. Goal: Harwood-Bellis 79.
USA -- Las; Scally (Anderson, 74), Judge, Alejandre, Bello, Saldana, Stroud (Atencio, 74), Busio; Fuentes Perez (Serrano, 63), Ocampo Chavez, Hagan (Sealy, 51).
England -- Moulden; Brooking (Robinson, 62), Harwood-Bellis, Simeu, Bondswell (Dorsett, 78), Hoare (Musah, 15), Carvalho, Hodge; Knight, Greenwood (Braithwaite, 74), Mighten.
Att.: 1,126.
16 comments about "New cycle: U.S. U-17s drop Nike Friendlies opener to England on late goal".
  1. Goal Goal, November 30, 2017 at 10:07 a.m.

    Saw the game.  Thank goodness for the keeper.  Defense questionable at best.  Absolutely no attack on our side.  England is a good team with ball handling skills and able to build an attack.  In this game it appears we were lacking both.  Hope it gets better.

  2. frank schoon, November 30, 2017 at 10:41 a.m.

    The games Holland vs Brazil and England vs USA, U17, is embarrassment to soccer and to coaching. Let's look at it from 2 different aspects, individual prowess and team play.  I give some of the English players credit for showing some "pizzaz' with the ball, which was refreshing to see, considering what I think of English soccer. Of those 4 teams I find England the most refreshing. Brazil, well, you know they play with a little flair for that is their style but I was not impressed  (with exception of the left wing) for I expected better, as far as ball skills and individually pizzaz. Holland and USA was total garbage far as individual play. There was not a bone of creativity among any of these players. No "pizzaz", NO PRESENCE.  There wasn't anyone out there player, who as soon as he had the ball, you would say to yourself " I wonder what he going to do now with the ball ". In Holland we have term, "grey mice"  used to describe players who have no personality on the ball, NO PRESENCE, and don't distinguish themselves.
    American culture and its people are the most creative in the world, we are the flagship in Technology, Arts, Entertainment, Music ,Sports, you name it , but when it comes to soccer we produce players, who stiffs, " grey mice" or another Dutch term"sausages" for they all look the same, play the same and lacking any distinguishing features  from each other. Likewise ,I expected much better from Holland ,considering their history.
    Realize these players represent the best of America, it's not some U17 team from a local soccer association. I wanted to see just one player, the best America has to offer, that is lively, tricky, show some saviness, quick, playful, good 1v1, perhaps inefficient loses the ball makes mistakes but at least you could say "he's young , he'll learn but already you can tell that he's going to be good later on". See next post.

  3. frank schoon, November 30, 2017 at 11:21 a.m.

    The second aspect, the team play is also disheartening which describes all 4 teams. They all play so similar. This says more about the coaches' lack of creative thinking. Like the players the coaches are also 'grey mice', who all looked when to the same coaching Academy, programmed, No distinguishing features , coming out those Academies stamped , pressed, stamped, stuffed like "sausages" coming out of the coaching school. 
    Just look at how all these teams are coached and play. Anybody with a half a brain can see where the next pass is going, IT IS SO PREDICTABLE!!! The right back receives the ball, looks around, passes it back to the right centerback, who takes two dribbles because he can only pass with the inside of the foot and gives a SLOW pass to the left centerback. Meanwhile the opponents are shifting to right their side for they expect the ball either to go to the left back, or one of the central midfielders...and guess WHAT, the opponents called it right...If it goes to the leftback, his body stance is positioned not optimally to allow quicker ball movement, receives a slow pass. The leftback  has a choice of either to pass to the goallie (SNOOZE) or straight up along the side line 10yards to an attacker who is marked. And guess WHAT the attacker is also standing with his back facing downfield,ANOTHER BAD BODY STANCE/POSITION, further slowing the tempo of the game.
    Suppose the left back passes to a central midfielder instead, guess WHAT the midfielder receives the ball with his back facing downfield ,ANOTHER GREAT PASS <sarc>. Note EVERY pass is given to a player STANDING STATIONARY, thus to the feet. I will stop here for I can go another couple of pages. You see one game ,you have seem them is just AWFUL
    If i were chosen president I would make 90% of the coaches hand in their coaching licenses for teaching this kind of garbage, for this is what we have gotten from Pay FOR Play and from the DEVELOPMENT ACADEMIES.  


  4. Goal Goal replied, November 30, 2017 at 3:17 p.m.

    Frank I only saw the US/Eng game and I was not surprised.  So many technical adept players have been left off this team and it started two years ago.  Whenever a player tried to be creative they were sent home and thus we have what we have.  I don't know when we will learn that the hit and run doesn't work on the international level.  I am not knocking the players on this team.  I am so disappointed at the coaching at the youth national team level.  The only expectations they have is to win and they want to try and do it quickly in a game and it is not going to happen at this level.  I can name six or seven players that will be at the showcase this weekend who have the ability to make it happen with creativity and technical ability.  These kids were let go at the under 15 and 16 level because they touched the ball more than once when they received it.  In my humble opinion we are no further today than we were five years ago.  Again I will state it is not the kids but the expectations of the coaches at club level and at the NT level.  The talent and potentiality is there they have no idea what to do with it.  It is a shame.

  5. frank schoon replied, November 30, 2017 at 4:09 p.m.

    Fan, ofcourse it is the coaching, not the players and what you say that we are no further than 5 years ago , well, I would tack on another 20years to that as far as individual prowess on the ball goes. The way all these teams play is like watching a replay of any other see the exact same pattern and style no matter the age. I'm watching some of the college games in the play offs, they all look the same, they employ exact same pattern of boring play, unbelievable. The only way to break this programmed garbage is too stress more individual prowess. I want to see some players do some things with a ball, break up this boring , programmed patterns of play. You know  more about what is going on with the kids than I do , I just watch the kids and report on what I see. Seriously the coaches are doing US soccer no favors. Every team has a right footed leftwing and vice versa as if this is how you play soccer. I don't see a team employ the opposite manner where the right footed wing plays on the right side, for instance. Why all of sudden do all teams play the this suppose to be an edict from the gods...The coaches are all robots, prone to dislike any individualistic play....Look at the passing my cat can hit the ball harder. I'm sitting there watching a player with the ball move up to midfield and I know exactly who he will pass to.You mind as well play video soccer....

  6. Goal Goal, November 30, 2017 at 4:46 p.m.

    Frank, everyone answers to someone no matter how high you are up the chain of command.  I just wonder if US Soccer sends people out to really analyze these programs or if it just a good old boy subjective network?  More so do they review what goes on at these national team camps?  Who is kept and why.  Who goes and why.   

    We have players playing in the DA at all levels that shouldn't be there.  The DA which is supposed to be select soccer certainly isn't.  You can see that in day to day play in the leagues and really will be able to see it here in Florida with the showcase this weekend.  Then you move to the National Team levels and what do you see.  I am just at a total loss.  Looking at it from your perspective gives me hope that I aint crazy because I certainly havent had the exposure to the game you have had but I can pick out exactly what you are seeing.  The game is the game but we just cant seem to match the players to the game which we all know is the result of the tunnel vision of the coaching.

    Frank, notice I paid my dues now I can talk!!!  LOL!

  7. frank schoon replied, November 30, 2017 at 5:50 p.m.

    FAN,  I was thinking about you today and laughing about what you said, "Check is in the mail".
    You mention coaches, chain of commands, and who is send out to watch and analyze. I think a lot of these types are bean counters, who have worked their way up in the licensing racket and paid some dues. But I don't see ,like you,  anyone that shows any pizzazz with a ball. You can't tell me that a former player with great skills and creativity would have the same analysis as these coaches they send around to analyze the youth teams. For example, I don't see anyone on the frontline who has any savviness with the ball. You need a front line player with tricky skills a la Brian Laudrup who  beats his man most of the time and thereby creating open space for his other teammate or create a possible give and go. Why haven't we seen any subject discussed in SA talking about the lack of creativity of American players. Everybody is talking about Pulisic ,a player that has talent build in but he does not represent the average American player, he is the exception. The DA programs basically produce, meat and potatoes type of players, that show no extra pizzazz, which I think is due to the training and type of coaches. Also I"m beginning to fall asleep watching the flow of the game for every game looks so similar, so predictable.

  8. Goal Goal, December 1, 2017 at 9:58 p.m.

    Frank, did you see the the US and Netherlands tonight?  You got to wonder.  At least I do.  

  9. frank schoon replied, December 2, 2017 at 8:41 a.m.

    Fan, I totally forgot. How was it

  10. frank schoon replied, December 2, 2017 at 8:52 a.m.

    FAN! OMG!!!! 5-1.  I'm going to watch this game sometime this morning..Well I suppose the US played as programmed as they did the last game.....

  11. Goal Goal, December 2, 2017 at 11:16 a.m.

    Frank, I don't even what to say about this team. I am here in Florida and was at the game.  Very disappointed.  I thought this group was supposed to be our answer in the future.  They are not competitive at this level.  After watching them against England in their first game and now this one it is evident we have a problem in identifying talent.  Defense none.  The midfield play couldn't be identified and absolutely no attack. I am lost for words.  I know we have better talent at this age. 

    When end you watch it tell me what you think.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, December 2, 2017 at 12:03 p.m.

    Fanfor regarding national youth teams, you should keep in mind that the more successful your players are the less the national youth team will reflect the player pool, especially during friendlies and qualifiers. (As you know, clubs don't have to release players for youth matches.)

    I am much more concerned about your general comments about the DA players you saw in the Florida showcase.

  13. frank schoon replied, December 2, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    Fan, I could only take about 36min. of the first half where the Netherlands were 3-0. I'm not impressed with either team although I do think man for man the Dutch are better, which is not saying much. I do like the #13, the dutch blonde midfielder who seems to have presence on the ball and I liked what #10 on the leftwing who made the American right back look just silly. THe commentator mentions that there were only 2 starters from either team playing but as far as I'm  concerned,I didn't notice any difference in the level of play from either team as compared to their first game. Yes, the American defense is bad, just notice the second goal where we outnumbered the Dutch player that scored 3v1 not including the goalie and worse it came from a cross allowing the defender some time to adjust.. My beef with the poor defense is due to these kids playing zonal defense and therefore lack tough man to man defense capability and this is the MOST IMPORTANT defense to learn FIRST when developing players.
    BOB mentioned they are missing perhaps their better players, but the way I see it when you're picked to play for the NT obviously you're and represent as one of the better players in all of AMERICA, period. Both teams look so programmed  and little or no individualism. In these games we need to showcase our great individual talent. I rather lose 6-1 in team play but rave about some our boy's, pyrotechnical display of technique and 1v1 ball handling ability,  and naively make mistakes  and lose the ball, for that tells me we'll be allright later on as they get older and mature when playing more team like. This is how Rinus Michels took Ajax when he had all this RAW individual talent and made them play Total Soccer... But watching these kids they have none of the individual prowess but play in a very sterile, programmed style , following boring concepts as taught by their coaches. I seriously question what Pay for Play and the DA are doing here. My cat has more moves and quckness with a rolled up ball of paper...

  14. frank schoon replied, December 2, 2017 at 1:19 p.m.

    Watching the first 15min of second half ,I noticed how much better the dutch are with a ball in small spaces , turning on a dime, switching directions, appearing to win most of 1v1 duels with the ball and most importantly they can switch the field of play with a nice accurate diagonal ball with good velocity...I didn't see one decent diagonall from the US. 
    What I hate with today's soccer are  the large amount of back passes to the defensive line who are made up of the less technical players. The back line ,the less technical players are receiving more balls than the better players downfield. You mind as well get rid of the defenders and place good ball handlers and great passers in the back. 

  15. Goal Goal, December 2, 2017 at 5:38 p.m.

    Bob I understand that. But!   At this level there would be no club that would not release a player.  Just wouldn't make sense.  When a team that takes the field that are supposed to be 22 of our best at this age level whether first team or second team you would expect to see them be competitive.  They were not.  The majority of this team are move ups fro the u15's and 16's and those two groups never set the world on fire.  There were two many good technical players that were never given a chance, bypassed or released.  Now we see the results.  Just being big, strong and fast with no other attributes one of them being able to handle the ball, take a chance and be creative gets us what we have.  It is a blanket across the DA program.  We either can't identify talent or, or I don't know what else to say.  So frustrating.

  16. humble 1, December 4, 2017 at 6:15 p.m.

    About talent identification.  Last summer, I met all the players on the Uruguay national team.  Guess what impressed me most?  They all looked just like you and me!  They were not 'awsome' physically.  It is not like meeting pro basketball or football players.  What they bring is soccer ability, in the feet, between the ears and in the heart.  They don't learn soccer in the classroom, they learn in on the pitch.  The license is a formality.  Country club soccer is what you describe above, that's what we play here.  Organized soccer, paid or free, with under qualified coaching and referees (taking nothing away from the many great coaches and refs here, but those folks will know even better than this simple parent the truth about their peers) cannot create the hard edged defenders you need to chissle forward players into world class scorers.

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