US U-17 Men’s National Team to Play Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium

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The US U-17 Men’s National Team will play the Houston Dynamo Academy team in what is seen as a soft opening for the new BBVA stadium in Houston, TX. The match will take place on May 10th at 7:30 p.m. and will be for an audience of season ticket holders, sponsors and select guests only.

“To have the chance to be a part of the stadium opening in Houston will be a unique experience for our players,” said U.S. Under-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams. “The atmosphere and excitement around the event will add a different element to the opportunity of playing against a good opponent, and we’re thrilled to be invited.”

Earlier this year the U-17 US Men’s Residency program roster was finalized for the Spring 2012 semester.  The 31 players selected will train on a full time basis at the residency program in Bradenton, FL. Currently the program is preparing for the 2013 U-17 CONCACAF Championship.

During the 2011 Nike International friendlies, held in December, several academy teams from across the country participated in training sessions directly led by US Soccer representatives while the U-17s competed in the annual friendly tournament against Turkey, Brazil and France.

Five players from these sessions, were chosen to train in Bradenton as a part of the residency program.

Additionally, there are 26 players representing 19 Development Academy clubs, with New York Red Bulls sending six players and Chivas USA and Concorde Fire providing two each. NC Alliance is the only other club to send two players.

The residency program is a full time training environment with part of the day dedicated to training and part of the day spent in the classroom at nearby St. Stephens Episcopal School.

Although many players who have participated in the residency program have ultimately went on to MLS or European clubs, the relevance of the program continues to be debated. Out of 300 players who have participated in the program, only 24 have registered at least one cap with the senior US Men’s National Team.

Not to say that the efforts of US soccer are in vain, rather, that if so many resources are being committed to a select group, it would stand to reason that it would make more sense to have multiple regional programs versus one main program.

Perhaps, a new model can work toward broadening the sample of players across the country and strengthening this pool of talent. Especially since the current approach to soccer development at the youth level has suffered several setbacks in recent times. This has directly translated to weak performances on the field most notably with the U-17s in the Aegean Cup and the recent flop in Olympic qualifying by the U-23s in Nashville.

The US U-17 Men’s National Team Residency Roster by position:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders; Woodinville, Wash.), Aleks Gogic (New York Red Bulls; Fort Lee, N.J.), Marius Heislitz (Georgia United; Cumming, Ga.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls; South River, N.J.)

DEFENDERS (10): Adonis Amaya (Chivas USA; Westminster, Calif.), Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Caleb Duvernay (CASL Chelsea FC; Cary, N.C.), Elijah Martin (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Jorge Miranda (Real So Cal; Van Nuys, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Cobb FC; Powder Springs Ga.), Kevin Politz (New York Red Bulls; Morganville, N.J.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Tyler Turner (South Central Premier; West Haven, Conn.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Jorge Calix (D.C. United; Alexandria, Va.), Steven Echevarria (New York Red Bulls; Slate Hill, N.Y.), Junior Flores (McLean Youth Soccer; Manassas Park, Va.), Angel Heredia (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Guyllain Kabala (New England Revolution; Manchester, N.H.), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana United Fire Academy; Carmel, Ind.), Aaron Meyer (FC Dallas; Carrollton, Texas)

FORWARDS (9): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), DeAndre Robinson (Concorde Fire; Atlanta, Ga.), Rubio Rubin (Westside Metros; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Lawrence Taiwo (NC Alliance; Raleigh, N.C.), Wesley Wade (New York Red Bulls; South Orange, N.J.), Dembakwi Yomba (Concorde Fire Academy; Lithonia, Ga.)

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