Eight newcomers will get shot with U.S. U-17 boys at Nike International Friendlies

Eight newcomers are among Coach Shaun Tsakiris' 24-player squad for games against Portugal (Nov. 28), Turkey (Nov. 30) and Brazil (Dec. 2) in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

The Nike International Friendlies, the U-17s' biggest event outside the Concacaf U-17 Championship and the U-17 World Cup, date back to 2001 provided a stage for future U.S. full national team players such as Christian Pulisic, Kellyn Acosta, Tyler Adams and Josh Sargent -- as well as Brazil's Phillipe Coutinho, Neymar and Marcelo, and England's Jadon Sancho.

"The reality of the national team is that the player pool is constantly being evaluated," said Tsakiris. "High-level games like these provide an invaluable opportunity to see the progress of our players and for them to show us that they deserve to be a part of our group moving forward."

The U.S. U-17s started their run toward next spring's Concacaf 2019 U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament a year ago.

Earning first U-17 callus are Masango Akale, Trace Alphin, Andre Luiz Costa, Cameron Dunbar, Sebastian Falsone, Jonathan Gomez, Ruben Hernandez and Alex Villanueva. The Brazilian-born Costa plays in Spain, while Hernandez is at Leon in Mexico.

MLS players George Bello (Atlanta United) and Gianluca Busio (Sporting KC) are unavailable because their teams are still alive in the conference finals. Both have dressed in the playoffs.

U.S. U-17 boys national team
Player (club; hometown; caps/goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3)
Trace Alphin (North Carolina FC academy; Raleigh, N.C.; 0/0)
Damian Las (Chicago Fire academy; Norridge, Ill.; 11/0)
Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps academy; Calgary, Alberta; 3/0)
DEFENDERS (8)
Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 12/0)
Adam Armour (North Carolina FC academy; Cary, N.C.; 8/0)
Sebastian Falsone (Virginia Development Academy; Warrenton, Va.; 0/0)
Jonathan Gomez (FC Dallas academy; Keller, Texas; 0/0)
Tayvon Gray (New York City FC academy; Bronx, N.Y.; 7/0)
Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy  academy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 11/1)
Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt academy/GER; Tampa, Fla.; 10/0)
Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 11/1)
MIDFIELDERS (6)
Masango Akale (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Minneapolis, Minn.; 0/0)
Andre Luiz Costa (Rayo Vallecano academy/ESP; Madrid, Spain; 0/0)
William Reilly (Atlanta United FC academy; Decatur, Ga.; 2/0)
Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 5/1)
Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy academy; Panorama City, Calif.; 14/1)
Peter Stroud (West Ham United academy/ENG; Chester, N.J.; 12/0)
FORWARDS (7)
Cameron Dunbar (LA Galaxy academy; Chula Vista, Calif.; 0/0)
Ruben Hernandez (Club Leon academy/MEX; Manteca, Calif.; 0/0)
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Sounders FC 2; Kent, Wash.; 12/5)
Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas academy; McKinney, Texas; 3/0)
Daniel Robles (Sounders FC 2; White Center, Wash.; 5/0)
Alex Villanueva (Seattle Sounders academy; Maple Valley, Wash.; 0/0)
Griffin Yow (D.C. United  academy; Clifton, Va.; 3/2)

6 comments about "Eight newcomers will get shot with U.S. U-17 boys at Nike International Friendlies".
  1. Right Winger, November 26, 2018 at 7:55 p.m.

    Interesting roster.  

    Is is there a reason top talent playing for clubs in Europe are not here?  Good luck to this bunch!!

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 27, 2018 at 6:38 a.m.

    Before 18, players in Europe have to have European passports. US passports are required.

  3. Wallace Wade, November 27, 2018 at 7:25 a.m.

    I think the “reality of the National Team” is that the US has very few scouts and the ones that do exist are only present at MLS Academies. Many talented players across the country are completely missed. That’s “The reality.”

  4. Right Winger, November 27, 2018 at 9:21 a.m.

    Bob very familiar with the passport rules but we have several kids under 18 with dual passports playing in Europe.  Dual passport means they can play both places.  Which means they can come home to play for the NT.  Happens all the time.

  5. Jim Murphy, November 27, 2018 at 10:19 a.m.

    I agree with Wallace.  The preponderance of players who are at MLS academies is not a good thing.  

  6. Right Winger replied, November 27, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.

    Jim I believe you are right on.  If you will notice the MLS got heavily criticized for not grooming local youth and developing them properly and all of sudden just like somebody pressed the magic button there were kids being invited into MLS programs a couple even to the top team.  A few should be there most should not.  Our really good players are being sucked up by the foreign clubs where they receive better training and a better training enviroment.  Watch an MLS game and then watch any club from England, Spain, Germany etc and tell me which is doing the better job and offers a better future to the elite player.

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