BRADENTON, Fla. (Sept. 2, 2008) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his staff have named 40 players to the 2008 fall semester of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. All of the players were born in 1992, 1993 and 1994, and are eligible to compete in the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
“For us, it was important to find players from all over the country. Whether they come from affiliated leagues or small clubs, we wanted to make sure to reach more cities and more players than before,” said Cabrera, who joined the program as head coach in October 2007. “We made every effort to bring in players this semester that we think can make the roster for qualifying next spring.”
Cabrera and his staff welcome 17 players who have joined the program for the first time, including Boyd Okwuono and Sean Davis, who have been involved with the Under-15 Boys National Team. Five new players – Michael Ambrose, Sean Davis, Victor Pineda, Dominick Sarle and Eriq Zavaleta - secured their place in Residency during the team’s two-week tour of Central America in early August, where they faced a number of CONCACAF opponents.
Of the 23 returning players, seven are beginning their second semester in Bradenton, including the youngest on the roster in Alfred Koroma, while 15 are in their third semester. The Under-17 Men’s National Team will also welcome back midfielders Donovan Henry and Charles Renken and defender Jared Watts, who all missed significant time during the spring semester with knee injuries.
There are 19 players who join the squad from clubs in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, including new players who were brought in as the result of the extensive scouting network implemented in the inaugural year of the Academy. From that group, six players - John Agudelo, Julio Arjona, Jonathan Kempin, Alex Molano, Shaquille Phillips and Pineda – come from youth clubs associated with Major League Soccer teams.
Midfielder Carlos Martinez and forward Jack McInerney enter the semester as the team’s leading scorers in 2008. Martinez has scored five goals and added two assists in international competition, while McInerney has also tallied five times, including game-winners against Uruguay, Guatemala and Honduras.
The players will be competing for a place on the U.S. team that will attempt to qualify for its 14th consecutive FIFA Under-17 World Cup in April or May, when the qualifying tournament will be held in Mexico. Dates and venues for that tournament will be announced at a later date.
The U.S. players live on campus at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and train in the morning under the guidance of Cabrera and assistant coaches Paul Caffrey, Paul Grafer and Keith Fulk, who was hired before the start of the semester as the team’s third assistant. In the afternoon, the players attend classes at nearby Bradenton Preparatory Academy. While in the full-time residency program, the U.S. not only trains daily under Cabrera, but also has access to the IMG Academy’s spacious facilities. The team regularly uses IMG’s state-of-the-art strength-training facilities, as well as some of the nation’s best sports psychologists that work at the Academy. The IMG Academy includes top-of-the-line soccer equipment, three Bermuda grass fields, an indoor dome with artificial turf, two swimming pools, newly renovated student housing and dining facilities.
Since its inception in 1999, nearly 200 players have been through the full-time Residency Program, many of whom have moved on to Major League Soccer, or professional leagues in Europe. Fifteen players have also registered at least one cap with the full MNT: Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Johnson, Eddie Gaven, Santino Quaranta, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Justin Mapp, Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley.
Under-17 Residency Roster by Position (Detailed Roster):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Samir Badr (Fairfax, Va.), Earl Edwards (San Diego, Calif.), Jonathan Kempin (K.C. Wizards Juniors), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier)
DEFENDERS (13): Michael Ambrose (El Paso, Texas), Julio Arjona (D.C. United Academy), Zachary Herold (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic), Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire), Boyd Okwuonu (Edmond, Okla.), Emilio Orozco (Oxnard, Calif.), Shaquille Phillips (D.C. United Academy), Tyler Polak (Lincoln, Neb.), Alberto Rosas (Real So Cal), Alex Shinsky (York, Penn.), Jared Watts (North Meck), Eriq Zavaleta (Westfield, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (17): Jonathan Canales (Santa Ana, Calif.), Dustin Corea (Milwaukee, Ore.), Andrew Craven (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Sean Davis (Matchfit Academy), Bryan Duran (Duncanville, Texas), Victor Garza (Edinburg, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Joseph Gyau (FC DELCO), Donovan Henry (Schulz Academy), George Malki (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Carlos Martinez (Las Vegas, Nev.), Alex Molano (F.C. Dallas Juniors), Joel Nash (Birmingham, Ala.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire Academy), Charles Renken (Scott Gallagher), Dominic Sarle (BW Gottschee), Erik Stephenson (Surf)
FORWARDS (6): John Agudelo (N.Y. Red Bulls Academy), Jonathan Brown (Clinton, Miss), Jaime Gutierrez (West Coast FC), Stefan Jerome (Davie, Fla.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Red), Jack McInerney (Alpharetta, Ga.)
Note: Development Academy players are indicated by the listing of their clubs