Disaster at U-17 Men's World Cup

When the USA entered Saturday's match against France at the 2023 U-17 World Cup in Indonesia, both teams were already assured of having qualified for the round of 16 thanks to wins in their first two games.

The outcome of the match in Jakarta was in many ways without importance other than to determine who finished first and second and their round-of-16 opponents, both confederation champions, so both teams rotated their lineups freely.

What could go wrong, huh?

France won 3-0 to clinch first place in Group E and set up a date with African champion Senegal in the round of 16. The USA will face Germany on Tuesday (kickoff: 3:30 a.m. ET).
* * * * *

Round of 16:
Monday, November 20

Ecuador-Brazil 3:30 am.
Spain-Japan 7 am.
Tuesday, November 21
Germany-USA 3:30 am.
Mali-Mexico 3:30 am.
Argentina-Venezuela 7 am.
Morocco-Iran 7 a.m.
Wednesday, November 22
England-Uzbekistan 3:30 am.
France-Senegal 7 am.
All times ET.

* * * * *

Not the end of the world?

The Americans will do so without three players.

Noahkai Banks and Paulo Rudisill both picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament in the match and are suspended for the Germany game.

Worse, captain Tyler Hall, who came on as a sub in the second half, was sent off for a DOGSO red card in the sixth minute of the 14-minute stoppage time -- a needless attempt to stop a breakaway with the match already decided -- and he will also miss the Germany game.

That leaves Coach Gonzalo Segares without Banks and Hall, his two starting center backs from the opening game. The only other center back in the roster is Stuart Hawkins, whom Hall had replaced in the 71st minute.

"We don't have time to dwell on tonight," Segares said afterwards. "It's about the mistakes we made, about reflecting how we can improve and prepare physically and mentally to face a very tough opponent. That's what we want. That's why we are here, to play these difficult matches, top teams from around the world. We know that this is going to get us better."

Nov. 18 in Jakarta
USA 0 France 3. Goals: Tincres 45+2, 82; Meupiyou 86.
USA -- Ferree; Harangi, Hawkins (Hall, 71), Banks, Reid-Brown; Corcoran, Habroune (Rudisill, 59), Medina; Jamison (Berchimas, 60), Burton (Figueroa, 77), Vazquez (Miller, 60).
France -- Argney; Zague, Tchaptchet, Sanda (Meupiyou, 46), Sangui; Sylia (Bouneb, 80), Ferro; Issoufou, Diallo (Amougou, 63) Bouchenna (Gomis, 80); Tincres (Lambourde, 90+2).
Yellow Cards: USA – Banks 49, Rudisill 65. France -- Diallo 36.
Red Card: USA -- Hall 90+6.
Referee: Dahana Beida (Mauritania).
Att.:  1,424.

21 comments about "Disaster at U-17 Men's World Cup".
  1. frank schoon, November 19, 2023 at 10:48 a.m.

    This is the first U17 match I watched...just the first half of it. What I came away with besides listening to this annoying female commentator who is trying constantly to show the audience thart she understands the game.  Her terminologies, her descriptions ,her standard jargon which I'm sure she learned from having gone to the USSF coaching academy license progam. Sorry to say she's been 'chipped' like the rest of her licensed cohorts. I have no prove that she ever went to get her coaching license but her standard soccer expressions about the game , full of hackneyed expressions which is so often from heard from these licensed coaches, mixed with so little insight about the game itself. For anyone especially the Uninformed (parents) listening to this 'snake oil' spiel type of talk might sound impressive. Oh,BTW, she often comes across so unnatural reading the commentary she has to say quickly, before the game has moved on and left her....

    I love the term, "Unforced Error". In my neck of the woods we call it , 'How in the hell can you make a "F'en" bad pass like that when no one is even around you". A dutch commentator would let you know in no uncertain terms, "What the hell, is that???"  We need to get a little more testosterone in our commentating and criticisms when seeing an egrerious bad pass. Let it be known and be honest what the consequences are , or how can one make a pass like that. We need a few laughs out here instead of having to listen to this boring soccer 'jargon'.

    As far as the game goes, our #6 playing the #6 role ,has no clue about positioning off the ball or how to stand for the next situation, or meaning ,thinking a step ahead forthe next pass....The french coach placed a man on our #6 and it totally effected our game, leaving us with to many square passes , long ball upfield or pass to the flank where we try outrun one these 'fast' frenchmen with no luck.  

    Note, when our back field or one of our backs have the ball ,#6 comes over to make himself available without UNDERSTANDING that he is bringing with him a French opponent thereby clogging things up. There were very decent passes produced by #6 to move the game forwards ,instead,usually backwards or square.... The French player that played the #6 role, moved around positionally, never really coming towards the player with the ball, which is much more effective for any passes that come to him will have beaten or bypass an American player.

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  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2023 at 12:33 p.m.

    How to support off the ball is a fundamental. 

    Coaching soccer isn't that complicated. 1. Players learn the fundamentals. 2. Coaches give the players some organization, a simple system, and set the lineup. Players who have mastered the fundamentals don't need a coach telling them what to do. Matches and practices are development time. 3. At higher competitive levels, opponents are scouted, coaches make a game plan before a match, and the team practices the game plan. The game plan is adjusted during the match to improve play.

    The problem is that US coaches aren't interested in fundamentals or player development. They focus on building winning teams, not developing players for future winning teams. (Yes there are exceptions, but far too few.)

    While coaching soccer is simple, the ability and knowledge of the participants--players and coaches--make a huge difference in team performance.

    This is a problem that has to be solved at the club level. We have had plenty of plans from USSF, but the plans always fail to be executed.

  3. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2023 at 3:05 p.m.

    Bob, I can't believe that a kid who plays on the US national team doesn't understand or even his NT coach overlooks that he shouldn't come to the ball for he's bringing with an opponent...It is all about space and time in soccer and he doesn't know he's clogging up things...This kid is probably playing on the better teams where he lives and I'm sure he's being taught the better license gurus of soccer who, apparently have no clue nor common sense themselves

  4. frank schoon, November 19, 2023 at 11:06 a.m.

    Our goalie on goal kicks, follows what is taught at the local goofball coaching courses to have either side standing 4meters away, uselessly, the centerbacks then with our backs nearby.And our #6 nearby coming towards the goalie...Look at this picture for in our own less than a third part of our half we wasted a total of FIVE players, who are out of the game, leaving the rest of our team upfield outnumbered, BIG TIME.  Instead of having those 5 players move up in their half giving us more passing options for the goalie ,the goalie elects to kick up field towards the halfline, which ends up a wasted ball.

    We could not build up from the back when the French defended high up. The reason for that is our players our technically 1v1  not good enough and not quick enough and not smart enough to beat their press. We had a brake away on the leftside by our wing who ran 40meters trying to outrun with the ball a bunch french players, 'long live Turbo'!!!,  ofcourse lost the ball...

    I find that the players as a whole are no different in how to play as the older or how we are characterized in our style of play...We are not going anywhere when we a face a team that we can't outrun, outsmart positionally, or outskill. I was not impressed with our coaching especially when one looks at how #6 played..And of course the standard situation leading up from how we move the ball, is not refreshing but hackneyed....

  5. Peter Bechtold replied, November 19, 2023 at 3:52 p.m.

    you should have chosen to watch the second half instead of the first when the French scored three times. Obviously their coach adjusted at the half and ours didn't or couldn't. What struck me was that the French players were team oriented whereas ours played like individuals, like everyone was a star on his own team. All chiefs and no Indians, you would say.


  6. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2023 at 4:05 p.m.

    Peter, I am going to watch the second half right now....I usually need just about 20minutes to get and flow of the game to get the jest.....Let you know....I guess I"ll quit watching Norway vs Scotland...

  7. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.

    In the second half you can really tell how much the french players are individually better than our guys. They shield ball well 1v1 and never lose it. There were a lot more 1v1 battles that they always one and they are better in handling the ball in small spaces. They are man for man better players. We lack strong individuality on the ball. Number #6 does actually nothing, he never changes and make a quick unexpected sprint forwards to throw off the french midfielders. Instead he just looks at the ball waiting for it to come to his feet. He does change his tempo attack. Even though he makes some nice crosses passes switching the field, it has no effect because he passes it to the feet so his teammate for the ball to come to him...

    I just find that our player development carried out by our licensed not adequate for these coaches lack themselves the quality, expertise to interpret and teach what technically is required to teach our player. I just see another generation wasted

  8. Bob Ashpole, November 19, 2023 at 5:57 p.m.

    I wonder if the USSF coach selected the most physically advanced players? Maybe the USSF coach didn't select players for tactical and technical abilities. In any event present player performance is more indicative of the coaching than the talent.

    This is a U17 coaching disaster, but not reason to be pessimestic about the talent pool. These particular players are past prime time for developing motor skills, but not everyone needs to be a piano player. And if they are smart they will learn better tactics.

    (I am not singling out the individuals coaching the team, but rather US developmental coaching as a whole. Blaming these coaches would be like blaming the keeper alone for all goals scored against the team.  By recent estimates it take over 63,000 coaches to make this big of a mess.)

  9. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2023 at 6:22 p.m.

    Bob, do you really think we have two sets or two of players, physical and technical. At this stage of the game you pick the best players that best suits the competition. All the players get the same coaches and training, regardless of physical or technical players. It is up to the coaches to select which players he need against his competition...

    I do blame the coaches for they coach and think in the same manner. You can close your eyes and you know about where the ball is going, how the players move for everything is so programmed.
    Have you seen any team that actually plays with upcoming centerbacks ,a la Beckenbauer, or apply a sweeper. All these teams try to play out from the back regardless if they are really capable. Look the #6 on our team, he plays the same way the whole game, never changed his pattern.  As far as the overal development of our players ,  I didn't notice one player on our team that any sauve movements with the ball, showing a playfull ,teasing manner with the ball when coming up to the opponent. They all are so programmed ,worried about not losing the ball, take no chances and that attitude carries all over the field... You see it in every damn game. And I shouldn't blame the coaches and trainers???? This is one of major problems in our development programs, all these coaches would have been great as coaches for the East German soccer program

     I see nothing in our player personell that would give me an optimistic feeling. Even though the french were better neither was I impressed with them although they handle the ball better 1v1.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2023 at 7:42 p.m.

    Frank, my experience is as limited as it gets, but in my experience youth coaches have selected players for travel teams based on age and height, ignoring talent. Some of them think it is sufficient to have one skilled player on the field to make up for the lack of skills in everyone else.

    I don't know how prevalent that is, but there are coaches that think like that. They want to play kick and run of course. Even some of the coaches I have met, that are concerned about skill training, still value "speed" over talent in selecting youth players. This was true even at the lower level of college. The mantra is that they can't teach "speed" so they select for that while planning to work on all the deficiencies.

    It's a big group of players, but elite youth coaches don't value talent. (I am using talent in the scientific sense of how fast a player improves over time.) Most only care about immediate performance levels, not six years from now. So talented players tend to not get picked. Think about Messi and what it took for him to get an opportunity. He is an exception, not the rule.

    One of your points is about needing skilled players at CB. Too many coaches pick CBs for their height rather than their ball skills. That doesn't mean that there aren't skilled players available. 

    At its essense the problem in the US is that coaches focus on short term results instead of looking 10 years into the future. 

  11. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2023 at 9:08 p.m.

    Bob, I'm talking NT coaches not those local yokels and don't forget the these players who are picked for the national teams like the U17 tend to play for the top teams thus they are coached by the so-called better coaches as well. 

    Your point on the CB is that there are technical players who can play CB, but technical can also be tall as well and fast and technical , those characteristics are not mutual exclusive. My point is that all these are programmed coaches follow the same pattern of type CB to pick. This only proves my point that no matter how well qualified the coaches  are they are all so programmed

  12. Alan Goldstein, November 20, 2023 at 8:33 a.m.

    Gentlemen,  while it may be fashionable to rail on about the USSF licensing program or the tendency of club coaches to select and train players to "win now" and forego development, it's a bit misplaced. Everyone of these players are in a professional team academy,  several in Europe , a few actually on rosters of the pro team itself. These academies are ( or should be ) there for the express purpose of developing players. The professional teams ( and obviously the European clubs where several of these players are) have no obligation to use USSF dogma. One would think they get the best development coaches they can,  regardless of USSF license,  and furthermore would care less about the win-loss record of their academy teams and rate the success of the program by the number of players coming out who can play at senior team level. So, if one wants to complain about the failure of our players to stack up against the French , which should be no surprise really,  then attack the MLS and European clubs for their failures. 

  13. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2023 at 9:37 a.m.

    Alan, trust me I'm a critic of the overal development of the youth everywhere but it 's a joke in the states. And if you think our developmental academies are up to snuff as far as player development goes than you really have no idea. Many of these kids on the U17 are playing for good teams and supposedly are in the hands of high level licensed coaches and are probably , as you state, associated with MLS academies.

    When you consider the socalled progress we have made since the 60's in soccer, better field and facilities, better organizations, more and socalled better coaches through USSF licensing system, pay for play, MLS, blah, blah,blah we have not produced one great player be it technical, dribbler, passer, thinker....NOTHING!!! in the past 60years.... Our ballhandling skills are too slow our game and the level of coaching expertise is a joke and certain not respected in Europe and our players would jump at a chance to play in Europe and learn and play better soccer....

    All our players look the same, play the same. It is like watching 10 gray mice out there. Sure one might standout a little which is mainly due to his athletic talent, not due to is his  skill intricacies or tactical acumen. 

    Your point, "One would think they get the best development coaches they can"...I would agree  but where are they???. Can you in the States that is a standout the skills development and teaching? I've been hammering for years that we need to bring over REAL EXPERTISE to teach what is needed developing our players. And I don't mean to bring over some European or Latin  licensed BOZO from the FA Coaching School which the USSF has been doing like the two dutch Komquats  we a hired and now gone a few years ago... REAL EXPERTISE, for example to me is actually bringing over a former great who played wing to teach the real playing 'insights' and movements of a winger...

    You want to tell me that our Developmental Academies ,the MLS or whatever 'snake oil merchants', and licensed coaches of soccer development can do that!!!....Really????? Watch our NT and their wings or younger age groups play and you can tell right away they are neither skilled enough and have no idea how to play wing...Look at our 'crosses' , the skill applied is LOUSY and these players come from our Academies whose coaches are licensed. It's about time we question the 'skill and expertise abilities' of these idiots who teach and develop our youth....

  14. humble 1 replied, November 20, 2023 at 1:08 p.m.

    Sorry Alan, accoutability to clubs and systems needs to be part of the program here.  Our ability to ID and cultivated talent is still not world class, this clear, watching each game and looking at agregate results. Bob and Frank are folks that comment here, that know the game and share their observations. We don't all agree - but take a look at what is written above, tell me where it is anthing about fashion?  Frank and Bob, they are very specific and for many, very correct.  To toss it out as Fashionable and then say - the other countries suck too?  Is that productive?  Are you helping make things better?  We have a long way to go here - we need to be honest about where we are at. For me, Frank and Bob here, are two people that tell it like they see it - all for FREE!  Because they have passion - not fashion - for the game.  Keep it going mates!  

  15. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2023 at 1:49 p.m.

    Humble, Bob,  This is what I"m saying letting the expertise come in to teach...First you should always be watching and learn from the masters. I and my generation watched the greats and study for they have set mold . Like Cruyff states there is nothing new under the sun in soccer.
    You want to learn than study the old guys or guys that came about previously..

    Reverse Elastico vs. Stanley Matthews         Youtube that...

    Stanley Matthews had a great move by going in then cut out but quickly and that you need is to gain that extra step on the opponent for a shot or a pass or able to get your body in front of him and shield.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, November 20, 2023 at 3:55 p.m.

    Alan, what is happening in youth soccer is not unique to soccer. The first article I read was about pee wee hockey in Canada, discussing the disproportionate amount of professional players that were born in the last quarter of the year. The way the system works is that "elite" kids are segregated at a very early age and that segregation creates an artificial barrier preventing more talented but younger kids from playing elite sports later in life. The problem is real and has been recognized by sports scientists for decades.

  17. humble 1 replied, November 21, 2023 at 10:08 a.m.

    Correct Bob. Now my son, got caught in tripple whammy, but overcame, 1st, he is late developer - could not run still at 12, was heavy, thick, with baby fat still, 2nd, he was 2006 Feb 2006 player, when USSF forced shift to Calendar year - he lost half his teammates - nearly all the young 2005 players of that year in our area - quit soccer already - casualties of poor thinking at USSF - now 3rd - so he's with the 06's right - good - and he Feb - right - good - well gueesss what - college selection is NOT calendar year - it is - drum role - school year!!!  Fortunately for him, i did not buy into DA and later MLS Next or ECNL nonesense - I put him with a club that forced him to play up - but - all his mates who stayed at the country club soccer setups, MLS Next, ECNL, ect, where you play with your age group, only one of his group is going on to D1 soccer, the rest, most quit by now.  Our local MLS Next club academy lost most of their 2006 players in the jump from their U17 to to their U19 team, they have no U18.  I don't have the numbers, my son has a D1 spot set, but from my emperical observations, of his graduating year going D1, less than 30% will be 2006 players.  Now mind you - he goes to the conference - and you can look this up - where one of the teams has 100% of minutes played by foreign players - and freshmen coming in to that team at 22 years old.  Well - guess what - thanks to brilliant coach my son has - he's been playing with men since he was 13.  But this show - what a bleeding mess is youth soccer - and all the hurdles - serve to make kids quit.  You could almost never have a Messi or Suarez or Neymar here - they would quit before 18. There are so many hurdles for players to overcome.  ID and cultivate talent - this is something - just not taught to coaches here - and those that are naturals - and those from abroad - that understand how it works - they are put down by the locals - who feel threatened - because when one begins discourse - like Frank's and yours Bob's and sometimes even Santi, yes, that Santi, and others here, the eyes roll and the knee jerk reactions and responses come.  In the world of youth soccer - people who know more than you - are threats - and threats are dealt with - put down.  Harsh reality.  I call it like I see it.  My player has played in 2 states - extensive - and been to ID camps all over USA for 2 years - I've started a club - and he's played at 3 in town - and 2 in other states.  I know a lot of foreign coaches - even guys on TV - color guys - guys that played decade careers as coaches abroad - that are here - trying to make as youth coaches - that got stuffed at the youth level. This is the context of USSF.  A bleeding mess that they need to focus on and get control of. 

  18. humble 1 replied, November 21, 2023 at 10:17 a.m.

    Frank, love that reverse elastico, just back from showcase trip to NC.  Four games in four days.  Kiddo did great.  Played RB first game, two assists for goals, one transtion pass to start 3rd goal - for comeback 3-1 win vs MLS Next team. Next 3 games he was CDM - this is his position - but in context of playing up - very challenging and he needs to improving sheilding ball - and pass accuracy from sheild positions.  He can play the fullback, but he is really central player - as his ball winning and transition pass range is very high quality.  Just need to lose ball less and make sure all balls connect.  Still - he continues work as RB, CDM and CB as versatility gives the minutes and he will be freshman.  Will share that with him - would love to see him make that move in a game - he has it in him.  Off we go!  

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, November 24, 2023 at 4:55 p.m.

    Humble, been there done that. I was over 3 years behind in development and born in the last quarter of the school year. I aged slowly so I had longevity. I was running circles around college players while in my mid 30s. My own kids developed right on schedule.

  20. John Polis, November 20, 2023 at 12:56 p.m.

    Needless cautions and send-offs are a killer in tournament play. At the U-17 level, I put it on the coaches. This type of thing shouldn't be a problem if the kids are aware of the pitfalls awaiting them in a tournament like this. Now the entire team's effort is dragged down needlessly because not one, but two starting centerbacks are ineligible. How could this happen? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  21. R M, November 20, 2023 at 6:02 p.m.

    So much of what hs been written above is TRUE. Bad coaching creates more bad coaching and a lack of development, no question. Regardless, the biggest shocker for me is the lack of quality on the pitch. 

    There is SO much talent on the fields of American soccer and while these boys can play, I havnt seen anything "SPECIAL". Something is off at every position and with every player. I realize they are 16ish and developing but I am perplexed that there aren't more "complete" stars on the field. Some are fast, but have no technical ability, others have technical but terrible decision making, some are big and physical but can't run, etc.  its amazing that we have over 5000 teams of U16 and U17 kids playing in the US alone and this is the best that can be done. I refuse to believe we can't find 30 complete star players who are "clinical" in the majority of facets of the game. 

    MAybe only selecting players from 29 MLS academies, isn't such a good idea!!! Figure it out already! Start scowering the top leagues for talent (MLS Next, ECNL, UPSL, USL, USL 2, EA, etc...) there is talent buried throughout this country but we only focus on MLS Next kids. Absurd!!! 

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