CHICAGO (Dec. 9, 2013) – The 11th edition of the Nike International Friendlies kicks off Monday afternoon at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams named a 20-player roster to face Brazil, England and Portugal from Dec. 9-15. All six matches will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. Live updates will also be provided on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The U.S. opens against defending Nike Friendlies champion Portugal on Monday, Dec. 9, followed by England on Dec. 11 and concludes the Nike Friendlies against Brazil on Dec. 13. The USA matches kick off at 5 p.m. ET and will be preceded by the other two participating countries at 2 p.m. ET.
“The group’s very excited,” Williams said. “It’s a big week for them, three really good teams, great international competition here at basically their home at Residency. They’re really excited and looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great week. We’ve gotten together this past week with the full group and we think it’s a talented group with some good attacking players.”
Fourteen players on the U.S. roster play for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams, and five players formerly competed in the Academy.
Five U-17 MNT players represent MLS club academies, including Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA), George Brima (Crew Soccer Academy), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas). Luca de la Torre (Fulham) and Joe Gallardo (Monterrey) play for overseas clubs.
U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by position :
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (Unattached; Allentown, Pa.), George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Edwin Lara (unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca De La Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo), Brian Zelaya (De Anza Force; San Mateo, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.), Joshua Perez (unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
The Nike Friendlies run in conjunction with the 2013 Development Academy Winter Showcase, which begins on Wednesday, Dec. 11. A unique element to even the Showcase playing field to 80 teams is the addition of a U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team in the U-17/18 age group and a U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team for the U-15/16 age group.
The U-17/18 Academy age group competes on Dec. 11, 12 and 14, and the U-15/16 matches take place on Dec. 12, 13 and 15. Similar to last year’s event, four Academy Select squads – two at the U-15/16 and two at the U-17/18 level – will face each other in a match on Thursday, Dec. 12.