USA's 2019 U-17 World Cup squad has pro experience

U.S. coach Raphael Wicky has named his 21-player roster for the 2019 men's U-17 World Cup that kicks off in Brazil Oct. 26. Wicky will be assisted at the World Cup by Ante Jazic, Barry Pauwels, Matt Pilkington and goalkeeper coach Mike McGinty.

USA U-17 2019 World Cup roster
No. Player (club/hometown) U-17 caps/goals
21- Aaron Cervantes (Orange County SC; Chino Hills, Calif.) 4/0
1-Damian Las (Fulham/ENG; Norridge, Ill.) 19/0
12-Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; London, England) 7/0
15-Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids; Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 4/0
13-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC academy; Cary, N.C.) 18/0
3-George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.) 8/1
4-Nicolas Carrera (FC Dallas academy; Frisco, Texas;) 3/0
14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC academy; Bronx, N.Y.) 17/0
5-Kobe Hernandez-Foster (LA Galaxy academy; Los Angeles, Calif.) 23/3
2-Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.) 19/1
18-Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg/GER; Frankfurt, Germany) 2/0
17-Ethan Dobbelaere (Seattle Sounders academy; Seattle, Wash.) 3/0
8-Bryang Kayo (Orange County SC; Poolesville, Md.) 8/1
6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.) 7/0
16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy academy; Panorama City, Calif.) 25/2
7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.) 15/7
20-Andres Jasson (New York City FC academy; Greenwich, Conn.) 11/1
19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Merced, Calif.) 24/9
9-Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas) 15/5
10-Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; Bedford, N.Y.) 15/8
11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.) 12/7

Never has the USA taken a team to a U-17 World Cup with as much pro experience as in this squad.

"This experience is very important," Wicky said. "First-team minutes at the highest level of competition, highest level training -- highest level hanging out in the locker room, where they experience how the top players behave. How they prepare, when they're serious, when they joke around around. Those experiences are extremely valuable for their development."

MLS Experience
Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City) 29 games (1,076 minutes)
Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders) 6 (413)
Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids) 6 (317)
George Bello (Atlanta United) 3 (177)
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders) 3 (82)
Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas) 7 (71)
Griffin Yow (D.C. United) 2 (59)

Gio Reyna, who captained the team at the Concacaf U17 Championship, is playing for Borussia Dortmund's U-19s but saw action in first-team games during the Bundesliga preseason.

"What I expect from them is to be role models in preparation, in the seriousness, in the warmup, in the locker room, raising their voice when something goes wrong, when a guy doesn't follow what we want to do, on or off the field," said Wicky.

Gio Reyna (middle) faced off with Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (left) and Daniel Leyva in a friendly last summer.

Fourteen players have had USL experience.

USL Experience
George Bello Atlanta United 2
Griffin Yow D.C. United
Sebastian Anderson Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Kobe Hernandez-Foster Los Angeles Galaxy II
Adam Saldana Los Angeles Galaxy II
Adam Armour North Carolina FC
Nicolas Carrera North Texas SC
Ricardo Pepi North Texas SC
Aaron Cervantes Orange County SC
Bryang Kayo Orange County SC/Loudoun United
Gianluca Busio Swope Park Rangers
Ethan Dobbelaere Tacoma Defiance
Daniel Leyva Tacoma Defiance
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez Tacoma Defiance

The seven players on the World Cup squad who weren't part of the Concacaf U-17 Championship (at which the USA finished runner-up to Mexico while qualifying for the World Cup): goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes, defenders Sebastian Anderson, George Bello, Nicolas Carrera, midfielders Maximilian Dietz, Ethan Dobbelaere and forward Andres Jasson.

Carrera, Dietz, a German-raised midfielder,  and Dobbelaere debuted for the U.S. U-17s in early September at the four-nations under-17 tournament in the Netherlands, where the USA beat Mexico (2-1), the Netherlands (3-1) and lost to Denmark (4-1).

The six players who were on the 20-man Concacaf U-17 Championship roster in May who were not picked for the World Cup squad are defenders Axel Alejandre, Mauricio Cuevas, Josh Tolkin, midfielder Gilbert Fuentes and forwards Jack de Vries and Tyler Freeman.

• Reyna will be playing in a U-17 World Cup 30 years after his father, Hall of Famer Claudio Reyna, played for the USA at the 1989 tournament in Scotland. The 1989 U.S. team, coached by Roy Rees, beat Brazil, 1-0, fell 5-2 to East Germany, and tied Australia, 2-2.

The USA opens Group D play against Senegal (Oct. 27) before facing Japan (Oct. 30) and the Netherlands. (Nov. 2).

"I want to see a team that gives everything in every single game, every single moment," said Wicky. "I want to see them working together and fighting together. That's the base. I want to see a team that's proactive. When we have the ball, to try to create chances, and when we don't, to force the opponent to make errors."

Wicky took over six months ago, shortly before U-17 World Cup qualifying.

"Our style will be similar to what we've done in the Concacaf championship and at the Netherlands tournament, where we beat Mexico and the European champion Holland," he said. "You can call it possession-based football, because we're going to try to play out of the back. But it's not always possible. Against Holland [a 3-1 U.S. win] we had only 40 percent of the possession, because they were simply good and they didn't allow us to have more possession. But important for me is to know what to do with the amount, the percentage of possession we have. Twenty percent, 30, 50 -- against Mexico [a 2-1 U.S. win] it was 70 percent."

On opening against three teams from three continents:

"They will have different styles, different philosophies," Wicky said. "But we will focus on how we want to play while knowing what to expect from the opponents."

Photo: Lindsey Wasson/Sounders FC Communications

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications