Published: October 20, 2011
The winds of change are blowing at the top of the U.S. Soccer program. It started with Jurgen Klinsmann and is now trickling down to the youth national side.
Wednesday’s big rumor mill suggested that Akron coach Caleb Porter will be named the new U.S. U23 coach while Tab Ramos will unsurprisingly assume the U20 head position – both of which were confirmed Thursday morning when U.S. Soccer announced the two new coaches.
What is also clear is that U.S. Soccer Director of Scouting Tony Lepore is a good candidate for the U15 job as evidenced by how seamlessly he’s handling the U.S. U15 camp this week at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
Caleb Porter was named the new U23 MNT coach Thursday.
“Both (former U.S. U15 coach) Jim Barlow (and former U.S. U14 coach) Manny Schellscheidt were my mentors, so hopefully this week will be much of the same things this age group has seen in the past,” Lepore said.
“I think what we’re seeing with U.S. Soccer is that technical directors are taking more of a coaching role with youth national teams. So that’s part of my assignment this week. I’ve been with this age group about 10 years now as an assistant to Jim so I know the group. There’s a familiarity there.”
There’s also a strong familiarity with the thirty-six players who have been called in this week. There are just six new faces, meaning the group already has a strong grasp of what the coaches are trying to accomplish.
This camp has seen an increased focus on training as has been the trend with the program – less games, more work.
Of the 36 players, 26 have participated in a U.S. Soccer Training Center, which is a single day, invitational training sessions run by U.S. Soccer staff for elite players in key soccer markets.
Training Centers are open to all top players and are designed for identification and to give players a leg up when they arrive at camps.
On Wednesday, the squad enjoyed a light day of training that included some work on set pieces.
Alejandro Vergara, a.k.a. “Little Messi,” took corner kicks as his team was implored to attack the net with determination.
Chet Castellaw was a part of the group of enthusiastic finishers while goalkeeper Cameron Keys flashed some good awareness in the box.
Some of the standouts from previous camps include Billy Abdallah, Mukwelle Akale, Guillermo Bermudez and Pablo Pelaez
among others. It will be interesting to see their continued development this week.
What Lepore and the rest of the program would like to see is more goals, more aggression, and better initiative.
"The most important thing is our style of play,” Lepore said. “We want players to compete but it’s still about putting the individual growth ahead of the team and putting the things we’ve worked on into play.
“We’ve been pleased so far. We think this is a talented group.”
U.S. U15 Boys’ National Team Roster
Cameron Keys (Philadelphia Union; Whitehill, Pa.), Jonathan Klinsmann (Strikers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.), James Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif), Parker Siegfried
(Newark Area SA; Granville, Ohio)
Billy Abdallah (Fullerton Rangers; Monterey Park, Calif.), Guillermo Bermudez (Albion SC; San Diego, Calif.), David Chavez (Juventus Forza; Redwood City, Calif.), Yosimar Hernandez
(South Bay Gunners; Huntington Park, Calif.), Malcolm Jones (Chivas USA; Chino Hills, Calif.), Jean Orvil Jr. (West Pines United; Miramar, Fla.), Pablo Pelaez
(Albion SC; San Diego, Calif.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), Peter Schropp
(Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.), Max Stiegwardt
(Minnesota Thunder Academy; Maple Grove, Minn.)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Amir Bashti
(San Jose Earthquakes; Cupertino, Calif.), Ivan Canales (West Coast FC; Santa Ana, Calif.), Chet Castellaw (Real So Cal
; Hidden Hills, Calif.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana United Fire Academy; Carmel, Ind.), Martin Salas
(FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Orestis Sousonis (New York Red Bulls; Dover, N.J.), Benny Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), David Villegas (Elk Grove Everton; Sacramento, Calif.), Sean Wilson (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.), Gedion Zelalem (Olney Rangers; Bethesda, Md.)
Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Minneapolis, Minn.), Marc Calderon (South Bay Gunners; Huntington Park, Calif.), Coy Craft (Fusion FC; Glade Springs, Va.), Malcolm Dixon
(New York Red Bulls; Glenridge, N.J.), Stephen Elias
(New York Red Bulls; Rye, N.Y.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire; Downers Gove, Ill.), Jacob Hernandez
(Solar Chelsea SC; Mesquite, Texas), Nicholas Hinds (Plantation FC; Plantation, Fla.), Rey Ortiz (Carlsbad Lightning; San Diego, Calif.), Remington Pimm (IMG Academy; Tarpon Springs, Fla.), Amirgy Pineda
(Fullerton Rangers; Santa Ana, Calif.), Alejandro Vergara (LA Galaxy; Long Beach, Calif.)