For two decades, the U17 MNT residency program cocooned and developed a selection of some of the best young American talents and pushed them through a World Cup cycle. That process ended this spring, and it officially ends in October.
That’s when the highly anticipated U17 World Cup in India rolls around. The U.S. fell just moments short of winning another CONCACAF tourney, denied only by a late Mexico surge in the CONCACAF finale earlier this year. That of course didn’t stop the U.S. from advancing and qualifying, and the last ever U17 residency class is now on the brink of the last residency-produced World Cup. Significant days indeed.
The reason residency is disappearing is largely because the Development Academy is doing its work more efficiently. It simply became redundant. One of the unfortunate byproducts of the Bradenton initiative is it largely took players out of the public eye by removing them from DA games and stashing them in Florida only to play international games. That kept a few promising names from circulating nationally, especially those who weren’t ensconced in MLS academies to begin with.
Today, we rip the tarp off.
These four non-MLS academy players have serious pro potential, and each is likely to feature at the looming U17 World Cup (the draw is in about a month) in October. Keep an eye on each, because despite wider hype they could land on a pro roster in the next couple years. And it’s never too early to put each on your radar.