Last week, the U.S. U17 MNT made the sort of history worth stepping back and pondering over. They beat Mexico, of course, for the first time in their competitive history, a span of five matches stretching back to 1983. It was not the biggest win in U17 MNT history by half – you’d need to delve into Landon Donovan’s 1999 team to go quite that far – but it provided one of the most important rallying points in the team’s modern history.
Turns out, the men’s U17s weren’t the only USYNT putting in work last week.
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The week of April 24-30 was a unique confluence of success in YNT terms, to the point that it’s fair to label it one of the more extravagantly successful seven-day periods in the cross-program USYNT history. There was of course the U17 success at World Cup qualifying, which led the way, but three other YNT programs were in action at the same time at different international tournaments, and none lost a game. The U15 BNT opened play at the internationally significant Torneo Delle Nazione, and the U18 MNT swung into action at the Slovakia Cup with a slew of relatively fresh faces looking to impress in the go-between cycle between the U17 and U20 World Cups. On the women’s side, the U17 WNT started its own experience at the Torneo Femminile Delle Nazione in Slovenia and took two wins from its first three.
In nine matches between all three age groups, the U.S. went 7-0-2. It was, by any measure, a wildly successful week the likes we’ve rarely seen before. And to head you off at the pass, winning does matter in the framework of development. It isn’t of primary importance, but it does point back to the actual work of development you’ve done, and take note of Germany in this instance. Back in the 00′s, as its machinery ground into gear, the German FA prioritized winning on the YNT level in international tournaments. Years later, they won the World Cup with those players.
Here’s the timeline of how it went down.