CHICAGO (Dec. 23, 2015) – U.S. Soccer has appointed John Hackworth as the head coach of the U-17 Men’s National Team. He replaces Richie Williams, who has been named assistant coach of Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer.
“We are thrilled to have John Hackworth on board to lead the U-17 Men’s National Team,” said U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann. “John is highly respected within the U.S. Soccer community and has experience in all levels of the game, including MLS. He has a positive coaching approach and is great at building bridges. We want to thank Richie Williams for his tireless work and commitment to the program.”
Hackworth begins his second stint in charge of the U-17 program. A veteran with U.S. Soccer, Hackworth began his involvement with the organization in 2002 when he first became an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team under former head coach John Ellinger. Hackworth went on to become the U-17 head coach two years later and in the following year took the USA to the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, where the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals. In his last year as head coach of the U-17’s, he once again led the Red, White and Blue to the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, with the USA bowing out in the Round of 16.
Following his stint at the U-17 level, Hackworth became an assistant coach with the senior Men’s National Team and continued to be on the sidelines until 2009. He also served as the inaugural Technical Director of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
“This program is near and dear to my heart, I’m excited and honored to be back working with the U-17 National Team,” said Hackworth. “This is an important age group on the National Team pathway and I’m looking forward to overseeing the training environment that will allow them to maximize their potential at this stage of their careers.”
The U-17 Residency Program is based in Bradenton, Fla., and launched in spectacular fashion in 1999 as the inaugural class finished in fourth place in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand. Founding players Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley won the Golden Ball and Silver Ball, respectively, joined by future senior National Team veterans Kyle Beckerman and Oguchi Onyewu.
In the 16 years since, the Residency Program has produced nearly 30 players who went on to play for the full team, including 10 who made a World Cup roster. Residency alumni have accounted for 11 of the last 15 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year award winners, including current U.S. MNT captain Michael Bradley and two-time World Cup veteran Jozy Altidore.
The U-17 program will continue to operate as part of the comprehensive National Teams setup, which now has a team representing every age group from U-14 through U-20.
Additional announcements regarding youth team coaching appointments are expected in the near future.