U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Javier Perez has named a 24-player roster for the team’s upcoming week-long training camp from Nov. 17-24 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
During the training camp, the U-18 MNT is scheduled to square off against the Canada U-18 Men’s National Team on Wednesday, Nov. 21 and Friday, Nov. 23; both matches are slated to kick off at 3 p.m. PT.
The last time the U-18 MNT gathered as a group for a training camp and matches was two months ago from Sept. 6-17 in the Netherlands as the USA earned a 3-1-0 record against a variety of opponents, including an impressive 4-2 win against the Netherlands U-18 MNT on Sept. 11.
This time around, 16 of 20 players return to the roster following the last trip to Europe, while Amando Moreno, Brian Iloski, Christian Sady and Matt Miazga are set to enter their first training camp with the U-18 MNT.
Moreno and Miazga currently play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for the New York Red Bulls U-17/18 side. The pair won the 2011-12 Development Academy U-15/16 title last season as the Red Bulls defeated St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri 1-0 in Houston on July 23.
Fellow New York Red Bulls player Santiago Castaño joins his teammates on the roster, giving the Red Bulls three players on the current team, tied for the most of any Development Academy club with Real Salt Lake AZ. Castaño returns to the U-18 MNT for the first time since Perez’s first camp as head coach in late March.
Christian Sady comes from the New England Revolution Academy where he plays with the U-17/18 side and has emerged as a regular starter this season. Previously, Sady was part of the U.S. U-15 and U-14 National Team player pool.
Also on the roster for the first time is Iloski, one of 16 finalists in Nike’s “The Chance” competition and the leading goal scorer for the San Diego Surf U-17/18 side with five goals in seven appearances this season. Iloski began the Nike competition as one of more than 100,000 players from 55 countries.
Beginning in January, the final group of 16 will participate in an international tour at the Nike Residency Academy program in England for a six-week stretch that includes academy competition against the likes of Manchester United and Juventus. One finalist will be selected to sign a contract with the Nike Residency Academy, which has a partnership with the English Premier League and seeks to find professional contracts for its players.
Twenty-one players on the roster are currently part of clubs in the Development Academy.
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA) and Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union) are the only players that have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs, while midfielder Piakai Henkel has a developmental contract with the youth system of French third-division club Amiens SC. Henkel, originally from Arcata, Calif., is making his second appearance in a U-18 MNT camp following his introduction to the team for the first time in the Netherlands. Forward Kosta Koukladas joined the team during the Netherlands camp for a trial and is back for his second stint with the team. Koukladas plays in the youth academy of Germany’s Rot-Weiss Essen and holds citizenship in the U.S., Greece and Germany.
In four international friendly matches during the 2012 calendar year, the U-18 MNT has a 1-1-2 record, while Chivas USA Academy forward Ben Spencer leads the team with two goals.
U.S. Under-18 MNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls Academy; Union City, N.J.), Ethan Horvath (Unattached, Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zackary Steffen (FC Delco; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (6): Michael Amick (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Suliaman Dainkeh (D.C. United Academy; Reston, Va.), Trevor Haberkorn (Solar Chelsea SC; Roanoke, Texas), Jalen Markey (Seattle Sounders FC Academy; Renton, Wash.), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy; Clifton, N.J.), Christian Sady (New England Revolution Academy; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Jacori Hayes (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Bowie, Md.), Piakai Henkel (Amiens FC; Arcata, Calif.), Brian Iloski (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Antonio Murillo (Real Salt Lake AZ, Las Vegas, Nev.)
FORWARDS (9): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake AZ; Rochester, N.Y.), Paul Arriola (LA Galaxy Academy; Chula Vista, Calif.), Justin Dhillon (LA Galaxy Academy; Rancho S.M., Calif.), Benjamin Lopez (Real Salt Lake AZ; San Diego, Calif.), Kosta Koukladas (Rot-Weiss Essen; Orange County, Calif.), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls Academy; Morganville, N.J.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Ben Spencer Jr. (Chivas USA Academy; Albuquerque, N.M.), Travis Wannemuehler (Indiana Fire Academy; Evansville, Ind.)