U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team head coach Richie Williams has named 20 players to the U.S. roster for the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama City, Panama.
The U.S. is looking to qualify for its 15th straight FIFA U-17 World Cup, which runs from Oct. 17 to Nov. 8 in the United Arab Emirates. The four teams that advance to the CONCACAF U-17 Championship semifinals advance to the U-17 World Cup.
"We feel like we've got a great group of guys that have been able to gain great experience at an international level," Williams said. "Now it comes down to the most important international tournament, and that's the qualifying. Obviously this is where it all counts. Either you move on to the World Cup or you come back home. We feel like they're ready and we'll go out there and do our best."
The U-17 MNT will be captained by defender Shaquell Moore, who along with fellow defender John Requejo Jr. played in all 24 international matches last year for the U-17s. The leading scorer among the group is forward Rubio Rubin, who scored 11 goals in 22 international games in 2012.
The roster consists of 19 players who are members of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program. The only player not part of the Residency Program is midfielder Joel Soñora, who plays for Boca Juniors in Argentina and is the son of three-time Major League Soccer All-Star Diego Soñora. Defender Justen Glad joined the Residency Program for the first time for the 2013 Spring Semester.
Thirteen players on the U-17 MNT roster have ties to U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. Midfielder Christopher Lema and goalkeeper Evan Louro were members of the New York Red Bulls team that won the program's first U-15/16 Finals Week crown on July 23, 2012.
The team departs from Florida to Panama on Tuesday to prepare for the tournament. The U-17 MNT opens its World Cup Qualifying run against Haiti on April 7 at Estadio Rommel Fernández. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The USA's group matches will be broadcast on FOX Soccer, with live coverage for the April 7 game and a tape delay when the USA faces Guatemala on April 11 (6:30 p.m. ET kickoff; 7 p.m. ET coverage). Fans can follow the action on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
FOX Soccer also will broadcast the knockout round matches that include the April 13 and 14 quarterfinals, the April 17 semifinals and the April 19 third-place and championship games.
The CONCACAF U-17 Championship consists of four groups of three teams each, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the quarterfinals. The USA is in Group C with Haiti and Guatemala. Group A includes Panama, Barbados and Jamaica. Group B consists of Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. Group D is comprised of Mexico, Honduras and Cuba. The tournament's four semifinalists will qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates from Oct. 17-Nov. 8.
U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2) : Jefferson Caldwell (North Carolina Fusion; Todd, N.C.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls; South River, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6) : Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake AZ; Tucson, Ariz.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Junior Flores (Unattached; Manassas Park, Va.), Angel Heredia (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Elijah Martin (Unattached; Fresno, Calif.), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Tyler Turner (South Central Premier; West Haven, Conn.)
FORWARDS (5) : Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Lake Worth, Fla.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)