October 1, 2015
23 named for U.S. U-17 World Cup squad
CHICAGO - U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which runs from Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in Chile.
"I think it's a pretty well-rounded roster," said Williams. "When you look over the two-plus years we've been together, we've had the ability to push forward and score goals with a lot of talented attacking players, but also on the defensive end we've had a lot of great games where we've defended well. We were able to play a good amount of international matches and domestic matches, and we hope through all of those experiences we have a really balanced team of 21 players that comes together and gets positive results."
The U-17's were drawn into Group A with host Chile, Croatia and Nigeria and open group play against Nigeria on Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. ET in Santiago. The team will then square off with Croatia on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar and Chile on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. ET in Vina Del Mar.
Twenty players on the roster were a part of the Under-17 team that defeated Jamaica in penalty kicks in March to qualify the USA for the World Cup and 20 are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
The team will bring along nine of its goal scorers from 2015 to Chile: Hugo Arellano, Pierre da Silva, Luca de la Torre, Joe Gallardo, Josh Perez, Christian Pulisic, Brandon Vazquez, Haji Wright and Alejandro Zendejas. Perez leads the way with six goals this year.
The World Cup will be played in eight cities in Chile: Chillan, Concepcion, Coquimbo, La Serena, Puerto Montt, Santiago/Nunoa, Talca, and Vina Del Mar. The championship and third place matches take place Sunday, Nov. 8, at the 24,000-capacity Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar.
A total of 24 countries participate in the tournament. The top two teams in each group, as well as the best four third-place teams, advance to the Round of 16 on October 28 and 29.
In its last U-17 World Cup appearance in 2011, the USA was drawn into Group D where it finished in second place (1-1-1) ahead of New Zealand and the Czech Republic, and behind Uzbekistan. The MNT faced off with Germany in the Round of 16, falling 4-0 to the eventual third-place finisher.
The U.S. qualified for the U-17 World Cup with a third-place finish at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in March. After winning its group with a 3-1-1 record, the U.S. clinched its spot in Chile by defeating Jamaica 5-4 in penalty kicks.
This is the 15th occasion that the USA has advanced to a FIFA World Youth Championship or World Cup at this age group. The USA's best performance was a fourth-place finish at the FIFA U-17 World Youth Championship in 1999 that included wins against Uruguay and Mexico. The U.S. nearly reached the final, falling in a penalty kick shootout to Australia in the semifinal.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II; Westminster, Calif.), William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (8): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls II; Wappinger Falls, N.Y.),Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Penn.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake Academy; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union Academy; Media, Pa.), Alexis Velela (New York Cosmos; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham F.C. San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas; El Paso, Tex.)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (C.F. Monterrey; San Diego, Calif.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Haji Wright (New York Cosmos; Los Angeles, Calif.)