U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has invited 31 players to the 2013 Spring Semester of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. In 2013, the U.S. will be participating in the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup for the CONCACAF region. “We are very excited about the group of players that we brought in this semester,” said Williams. “We feel very confident in this group that will provide us with 20 players to go on to World Cup qualifying and hopefully through a successful World Cup qualifying campaign, and will lead us to this year’s World Cup.”
Five players – Collin Fernandez, Justen Glad, Nathan Kohl, Erik Palmer-Brown and Caleb Smith – join the Residency Program for the first time, while Steven Echevarria returns to the fold after being absent during the 2012 Fall Semester.
Twenty-five players return from the previous semester, including defender Shaquell Moore and forward Rubio Rubin, who lead the current cycle in caps with 24, as well as midfielder Corey Baird and defender John Requejo Jr., who have 22 caps each.
The players in Bradenton represent 17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs. The New York Red Bulls send four players in midfielders Echevarria, Christopher Lema, goalkeeper Evan Louro and forward Wesley Wade.
The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academies in Bradenton and train in the morning under the guidance of Williams and his coaching staff. In the afternoon, the players attend classes at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
While in the full-time Residency Program, the U.S. team not only trains daily, but also has access to the IMG Academies facilities. The team regularly uses the state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as brand new dormitories and meal rooms.
The U.S. U-17 MNT will compete in the 2013 CONCACAF Championship from April 6-19 in Panama. The U.S. will be joined in Panama by the hosts, as well as by Barbados, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago and.
“This is the most important semester we have here,” said Williams. “They’ve been developing over these past three semesters and now it comes to the most important games, which really mean something in terms of going down to Panama and having to qualify for the World Cup. We think we’ll be ready. We still have three more months. We’re excited and we’re confident that this group of players will lead us to the World Cup.”
Beginning in 1999, the Residency Program has given players an opportunity to grow and move up the ladder in the world of soccer and become professionals in Major League Soccer, some of the biggest clubs in Europe and even make an impact on the full U.S. Men’s National Team. The program in Bradenton provides players with an environment where they can prosper as individual players and come together as a team ahead of regional and world competition.
Since its inception, more than 300 players have been through the full-time Residency Program, and more than 100 of those players have moved on to Major League Soccer or the professional leagues in Europe. Twenty-four players have also registered at least one cap with the full MNT: Freddy Adu, Gale Agbossoumonde, Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Michael Bradley, Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan, Eddie Gaven, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Johnson, Eric Lichaj, Justin Mapp, Chad Marshall, Dax McCarty, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Santino Quaranta, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, Danny Szetela and Anthony Wallace.
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jefferson Caldwell (NC Fusion; Todd, N.C.), Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders; Woodinville, Wash.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls; South River, N.J.), Carter Richardson (Crew Soccer Academy; Dublin, Ohio)
DEFENDERS (10): Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake AZ Academy; Tucson, Ariz.), Malcolm Jones (Chivas USA; Chino Hills, Calif.), Elijah Martin (Unattached; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summitt, Mo.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.), Tyler Turner (South Central Premier; West Haven, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Steven Echevarria (New York Red Bulls; Slate Hill, N.Y.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire Academy; Downers Grove, Ill.), Junior Flores (Unattached; Manassas Park, Va.), Angel Heredia (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Rolando Muñoz (LA Galaxy; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Caleb Smith (Solar Chelsea SC; Arlington, Texas), Benjamin Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (8): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Lake Worth, Fla.), Bradford Jamieson (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Nathan Kohl (Crew Soccer Academy; Hilliard, Ohio), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Wesley Wade (New York Red Bulls; South Orange, N.J.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)