U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 20-player roster that will be competing in the 2012 Nike International Friendlies at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
The defending champion United States kicks off the tournament Wednesday, Nov. 28, against last year’s runner-up Brazil, followed by Turkey on Friday, Nov. 30, and Portugal on Sunday, Dec. 2. All U.S. games kick off at 5 p.m. ET.
Coaching in his first Nike International Friendlies, Williams is bringing a U.S. team that features eight returning players from the 2011 champions, including the goalkeeping tandem of Paul Christensen and Evan Louro. Other featured returning players include defenders Conor Donovan, Shaquell Moore and John Requejo Jr., midfielders Christopher Lema and Rubio Rubin, and forward Corey Baird. Rubin, the 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, scored a goal in the second minute during the USA’s 3-1 win against Brazil that led to the U.S. U-17 MNT’s first Nike International Friendlies crown.
Fourteen players on this year’s roster have ties to Development Academy clubs. Louro and Lema won the U-15/16 Development Academy title with the New York Red Bulls at the 2012 Academy Finals Week at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Three players joining the team have been selected from outside the U-17 Residency Program: FC Dallas defender Jordan Cano and midfielders Cameron Lindley (Indiana Fire Academy) and Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC Academy).
Hyndman is the grandson of current FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman and a member of the Fulham FC (England) Under-18 academy team. Hyndman has earned several starts this year and is touted as an emerging player in the Cottagers’ youth ranks.
Dating back to the start of the AGS Cup in Spain on Sept. 29, the U.S. has posted a 6-3-2 record in its last 11 matches.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Nike International Friendlies, which first introduced visiting national teams from around the world in 2003 as the Nike National Team Friendlies. The USA has participated in all 10 editions, and Brazil will be competing in the series for the eighth time. Turkey will be playing in its third straight Nike International Friendlies, having won the event in 2010 – the first time the tournament format provided for a champion to be crowned.
The competition runs in conjunction with the 2012 Development Academy Winter Showcase which is taking place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, when all 80 Academy teams at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 divisions will play three non-conference games apiece.
2012 U.S. U-17 MNT Nike International Friendlies Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders Academy; Woodinville, Wash.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls Academy; South River, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6): Jordan Cano (FC Dallas Academy; Richardson, Texas), Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Elijah Martin (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Minneapolis, Minn.), Junior Flores (McLean Youth Soccer; Manassas Park, Va.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC Academy; Canton, Texas), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls Academy; Ridgefield, N.J.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana Fire Academy; Carmel, Ind.), Rolando Muñoz (LA Galaxy Academy; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Lake Worth, Fla.), Rubio Rubin (Portland Timbers Academy; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)