U.S. Soccer
0
US Soccer

U-17 MNT Lose 2-0 to Nigeria in World Cup Opener

SANTIAGO, Chile. (Oct. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team was defeated 2-0 by Nigeria in the teams’ opening match of the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The match was scoreless for the first 49 minutes of play until Chukwudi Agor broke the tie with a goal in the 50th minute and then assisted on Victor Osimhen’s score eleven minutes later.

The U.S. had opportunities in the first half, producing some good chances down the left side where Christian Pulisic played the architect. The best came early, when in the 13th minute, Pulisic whipped in a cross from the left that Haji Wright hit over the bar from close range.

The MNT will look to bounce back in its second group game at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar Chile on Tuesday, Oct. 20 against Croatia, but will have to do so without defender Austin Trusty, who was sent off with a red card in the 87th minute. That match will kick off at 4 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and NBC Universo.

The team will conclude group play on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. ET against host Chile, a match that will also appear on FOX Sports 2 and NBC Universo.

A total of 24 countries are in Chile participating 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. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
NGA– Chukwudi Agor, 50th minute: The USA defense dropped deep as Nigeria attacked from the right. As John Lazarus reached the edge of the box on the right he centered a cross. Austin Trusty stepped to it to clear it away, but mishit his clearance and the ball trickled across the box, where Chukwudi Agor ran onto it and blasted in the first goal of the game. USA 0, NGA 1 

NGA– Victor Osimhen (Chukwudi Agor), 61st minute: Agor won a header off a short USA goal kick and immediately passed it up to Osimhen, who took couple of controlling touches and to get around the backpedaling U.S. defenders at the top of the box. Osimhen fired a left-footed shot from 14 yards out, which found the lower right corner of the goal and put the Nigerians up by a pair of goals.  USA 0, NGA 2 (FINAL) 

Coming up Next: #USAvCRO on FOX Sports 2 and NBC Universo
Location: Estadio Sausalito – Vina Del Mar, Chile
Date: Oct. 20, 2015
Opponent: Croatia 

-U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Date: Oct. 17, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup – Group A
Venue: Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos; Santiago De Chile
Attendance: TBA
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local (4 p.m. ET)
Weather: 73 degrees; Partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F                                             
USA                            0          0          0         
NGA                            0          2          2         

NGA – Chukwudi Agor                                               50th minute    
NGA – Victor Osimhen (Chukwudi Agor)                  61                               

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde (18-Tyler Adams, 67), 4-Auston Trusty, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson; 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 6-Eric Calvillo, 11-Josh Perez; 7-Haji Wright (8-Luca de la Torre, 64), 9-Joe Gallardo (17-Pierre da Silva, 83), 10-Christian Pulisic
Subs Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Alexis Velela, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 15-Danny Barbir, 16-Tommy McCabe, 19-Brandon Vazquez, 21-Eric Lopez
Head Coach: Richie Williams  

NGA: 1-Akpan Udoh; 2-John Lazarus, 4-David Enogela, 5-Lukman Zakari, 7-Funsho Bamgboye (8-Samuel Chukwueze, 81); 9-Victor Osimhen (20-Orji Okwonkwo, 90+3), 10-Kelechi Nwakali (capt.), 12-Chukwudi Agor (6-Kingsley Michael, 61), 14-Ejike Ikwu; 15-Udochukwu Anumudu, 17-Osinachi Ebere
Subs Not Used: 3-Tobechukwu Ibe, 11-Chinedu Madueke, 13-Joel Osikel, 16-Amos Benjamin, 18-Edidiong Essien, 19-Sunday Alimi, 21-Chisom Chiaha
Head Coach: Emmanuel Amunike

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 5 / 19
Shots on Goal: 0 / 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 8        
Offside: 0 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 13

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Auston Trusty (ejection)                      87th minute
USA – Alejandro Zendejas (caution)              90+3   

Officials:
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)                      
Assistant Referee: Guido Kleve (GER)         
Assistant Referee: Markus Haecker (GER) 
4th official: Martin Strombergsson (SWE)                

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 17, 2015

-U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Nigeria
Date: Oct. 17, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup – Group A
Venue: Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos; Santiago De Chile
Attendance: TBA
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local (4 p.m. ET)
Weather: 73 degrees; Partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F                                             
USA                               0          0          0        
NGA                              0          2          2         

NGA – Chukwudi Agor                                       50th minute      
NGA – Victor Osimhen ( Chukwudi Agor)         61                               

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde (18-Tyler Adams, 67), 4-Auston Trusty, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson; 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 6-Eric Calvillo, 11-Josh Perez; 7-Haji Wright (8-Luca de la Torre, 64), 9-Joe Gallardo (17-Pierre da Silva, 83), 10-Christian Pulisic
Subs Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Alexis Velela, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 15-Danny Barbir, 16-Tommy McCabe, 19-Brandon Vazquez, 21-Eric Lopez
Head Coach: Richie Williams  

NGA: 1-Akpan Udoh; 2-John Lazarus, 4-David Enogela, 5-Lukman Zakari, 7-Funsho Bamgboye (8-Samuel Chukwueze, 81); 9-Victor Osimhen (20-Orji Okwonkwo, 90+3), 10-Kelechi Nwakali (capt.), 12-Chukwudi Agor (6-Kingsley Michael, 61), 14-Ejike Ikwu; 15-Udochukwu Anumudu, 17-Osinachi Ebere
Subs Not Used: 3-Tobechukwu Ibe, 11-Chinedu Madueke, 13-Joel Osikel, 16-Amos Benjamin, 18-Edidiong Essien, 19-Sunday Alimi, 21-Chisom Chiaha
Head Coach: Emmanuel Amunike

Stats Summary: USA / NGA
Shots: 5 / 19
Shots on Goal: 0 / 6
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 8        
Offside: 0 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 13

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Auston Trusty (ejection)               87th minute
USA – Alejandro Zendejas (caution)        90+3           

Officials:
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)                
Assistant Referee: Guido Kleve (GER)  
Assistant Referee: Markus Haecker (GER)        
4th official: Martin Strombergsson (SWE)                      

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

{6EB538F4-C77D-4E8A-BF3C-ED1DCFA0851D}
US Soccer

U-17 MNT World Cup Quote Sheet: Williams and Zendejas Talk Nigeria Match

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opened their 2015 U-17 FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 loss to Nigeria, the defending champions. The U.S. now turns their sights to the second match of Group A play against Croatia at Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and NBC Universo.


U.S. U-17 MNT head coach RICHIE WILLIAMS

Overall thoughts on the match:
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the loss. We played a very good Nigerian team. I thought the first half was a good start for us. The first ten-fifteen minutes I thought we created a couple chances where we got to the endline and got the ball in front of the goal; unfortunately we didn’t have anyone there to potentially put the ball in the goal. I thought we were organized in the first half and limited their ability to get at us and I thought it was a first half, we created some chances and obviously the second half, they went up with two early goals, which is very disappointing, especially in terms of the way they were scored. There was a failed clearance and then their number nine getting in between our two centerbacks on the second goal, but disappointing. I though the reserves that came into the game for us in the second half gave us a lift towards the end of the game and unfortunately we had a player sent off but I thought we kept battling and trying to get a goal but unfortunately we didn’t get one on the day. Maybe just not as sharp as we’d like to be but against a very good Nigerian team which makes it very difficult on you.”

On scouting the next two opponents:
“We’re definitely staying to scout the Chile vs. Croatia game. We’re going to look at both teams and get an idea as to how they’ll be playing. We need to rebound and put this game behind us, learn from it, be ready for Croatia, one game at a time, and then Chile in the third game.”

On what changes have to be made to the backline especially in light of the red card:
”Obviously we’re going to put another player in as [Auston] will be suspended for one game. Again, we have faith and confidence in our players that were on the bench and we’ll put another player in there. They all have experience, they’ve all played in big games so we’ll get another central defender in and approach the game in a positive way with the idea of getting three points.”

U.S. U-17 MNT midfielder ALEJANDRO ZENDEJAS

On the opening match of the tournament:
“It was good to get the first game in, I thought we played a good game. There were points in the game when we had good timing and we attached early on in the first half, and I thought the subs that came on helped out a lot.”

On shifting the focus to the match against Croatia:
“It’s good to let go of this game and focus on the next game now against Croatia. No team in this tournament is an easy team so you have to go out and give it your all. Now we can turn our focus to the next game and prepare as best as we can.”

Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 17, 2015

U-17 MNT Lose 2-0 to Nigeria in World Cup Opener

SANTIAGO, Chile. (Oct. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team was defeated 2-0 by Nigeria in the teams’ opening match of the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The match was scoreless for the first 49 minutes of play until Chukwudi Agor broke the tie with a goal in the 50th minute and then assisted on Victor Osimhen’s score eleven minutes later. The U.S. had oppo Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 17, 2015

Q&A: Richie Williams Discusses U-17 MNT World Cup

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams is in Chile with the team ahead of the 2015 U-17 FIFA World Cup. Williams took time to speak with members of the media via teleconference ahead of the team’s first game against Nigeria on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Santiago. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 and Telemundo at 4 p.m. ET. On how the team has been in its Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 16, 2015
US Soccer

FOX Sports, NBC Universo and Telemundo to Televise All U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Matches During FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile

CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2015) – FOX Sports, NBC Universo and Telemundo will televise all three of the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team matches during the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup from Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in Chile. 

The three group matches for the U.S. against Nigeria on Oct. 17, Croatia on Oct. 20 and Chile on Oct. 23 will be televised in English language on FS2. In Spanish language, Telemundo will air the opening match against Chile, while the U.S. matches against Croatia and Chile we be featured on NBC Universo. 

The U.S. kicks off against Nigeria, the most successful nation in the tournament’s history with four titles, in the opening game of the tournament at 3:55 p.m. ET. 

All matches on FS2 are available for live streaming via the FOX Sports GO app and online at FOXSportsGO.com. All 52 matches listed below are also available live and on-demand on FOX Soccer 2Go. 

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. 

U.S. Under-17 head coach Richie Williams announced his 21-player roster on Oct. 2, naming 20 products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. 

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. 

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. 

DATE                          TIME (ET)      MATCH                                  NETWORK
Saturday, Oct. 17         2:55 PM           England vs. Guinea                  FOX Soccer Plus, NBCDeportes.com
Saturday, Oct. 17       3:55 PM          Nigeria vs. USA                      FS2, Telemundo
Saturday, Oct. 17         5:55 PM           Brazil vs. Korea Republic        FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Saturday, Oct. 17         6:55 PM           Chile vs. Croatia                      FS2, NBC Universo
Sunday, Oct. 18           2:55 PM           Australia vs. Germany             FS2, Telemundo
Sunday, Oct. 18           2:55 PM           Belgium vs. Mali                      FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Sunday, Oct. 18           5:55 PM           Mexico vs. Argentina               FS2, NBC Universo
Sunday, Oct. 18           5:55 PM           Honduras vs. Ecuador              FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Monday, Oct. 19          3:55 PM           New Zealand vs. France          FS2, NBCD.com
Monday, Oct. 19          3:55 PM           South Africa vs. Costa Rica     FOX Soccer Plus, NBC Universo
Monday, Oct. 19          6:55 PM           Korea DPR vs. Russia              FS2, NBCD.com
Monday, Oct. 19          6:55 PM           Syria vs. Paraguay                   FOX Soccer Plus, NBC Universo
Tuesday, Oct. 20        5:00 PM          USA vs. Croatia                      FS2, NBC Universo
Tuesday, Oct. 20         5:00 PM           England vs. Brazil                    FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Tuesday, Oct. 20         6:55 PM           Chile vs. Nigeria                       FS2, NBC Universo
Tuesday, Oct. 20         6:55 PM           Korea Republic vs. Guinea       FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Wednesday, Oct. 21    5:00 PM           Australia vs. Mexico                 FS2, Telemundo
Wednesday, Oct. 21    5:00 PM           Belgium vs. Honduras               FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Wednesday, Oct. 21    6:55 PM           Argentina vs. Germany             FS2, NBC Universo
Wednesday, Oct. 21    6:55 PM           Ecuador vs. Mali                       FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 22        3:55 PM           South Africa vs. Korea DPR    FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 22        6:55 PM           Russia vs. Costa Rica               FS2, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 22        6:55 PM           Paraguay vs. France                 FOX Soccer Plus, NBC Universo
Thursday, Oct. 22        11:00 PM         New Zealand vs. Syria             FS2, NBCDeportes.com
Friday, Oct. 23             5:00 PM           Korea Republic vs. England    FS2, NBCD.com
Friday, Oct. 23           6:55 PM          USA vs. Chile                          FS2, NBC Universo
Friday, Oct. 23             6:55 PM           Croatia vs. Nigeria                   FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Friday, Oct. 23             9:00 PM           Guinea vs. Brazil                     FS2, NBCD.com
Saturday, Oct. 24         2:55 PM           Ecuador vs. Belgium                FS2, NBCD.com
Saturday, Oct. 24         2:55 PM           Mali vs. Honduras                    FOX Soccer Plus, Telemundo
Saturday, Oct. 24         5:55 PM           Germany vs. Mexico                FS2, Telemundo
Saturday, Oct. 24         5:55 PM           Argentina vs. Australia            FOX Soccer Plus, NBC Universo
Sunday, Oct. 25           2:55 PM           France vs. Syria                        FS2, NBCD.com
Sunday, Oct. 25           2:55 PM           Paraguay vs. New Zealand       FOX Soccer Plus, Telemundo
Sunday, Oct. 25           5:55 PM           Costa Rica vs. Korea DPR       FS2, NBC Universo
Sunday, Oct. 25           5:55 PM           Russia vs. South Africa            FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Wednesday, Oct. 28    3:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FS2, NBCD.com
Wednesday, Oct. 28    3:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Wednesday, Oct. 28    6:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FS2, NBC Universo
Wednesday, Oct. 28    6:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 29        3:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FS2, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 29        3:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Thursday, Oct. 29        6:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FS2, NBC Universo.com
Thursday, Oct. 29        6:55 PM           ROUND OF 16                         FOX Soccer Plus, NBCD.com
Sunday, Nov. 1            1:55 PM           QUARTERFINAL                   FS2, Telemundo
Sunday, Nov. 1            4:55 PM           QUARTERFINAL                   FS2, Telemundo
Monday, Nov. 2          2:55 PM           QUARTERFINAL                    FS2, NBC Universo
Monday, Nov. 2          5:55 PM           QUARTERFINAL                    FS2, NBC Universo
Thursday, Nov. 5         5:55 PM           SEMIFINAL                            FS2, Telemundo
Thursday, Nov. 5         8:00 PM           SEMIFINAL                            FS2, Telemundo
Sunday, Nov. 8            1:55 PM           3rd PLACE MATCH               FS2, NBC Universo
Sunday, Nov. 8            4:55 PM           FINAL                                      FS2, Telemund

Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 16, 2015
US Soccer

Richie Williams Names 21-Player Roster for FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile

CHICAGO (Oct. 2, 2015) - 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.

Nineteen 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.)

Roster Notes:

  • Nineteen of the 21 players on the roster were born in 1998, with Tyler Adams and Eric Lopez the couple players born in 1999
  • Twenty players on the roster are products of the Development Academy: Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy),Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Barbir (Players Development Academy), Calvillo(Real So Cal), da Silva (Orlando City SC Academy), de la Torre (Nomads SC & San Diego Surf), Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ),Gallardo (Nomads SC), Lopez (LA Galaxy Academy), McCabe(Players Development Academy), Nelson(Internationals), Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Perez (Chivas USA),C. Pulisic (PA Classics), W. Pulisic (Richmond United), Silva(Players Development Academy), Trusty(Philadelphia Union), Velela (San Diego Surf), Wright (LA Galaxy Academy),Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy).
  • Nineteen players on this roster were a part of the U-17 team that defeated Jamaica in Penalty Kicks in March to qualify for the World Cup.
  • William Pulisic started as the goalkeeper in every match for the U-17’s in the CONCACAF Championship
  • Arellano, Da Silva, de la Torre, Gallardo, Perez, Christian Pulisic, Vazquez, Wright and Zendejas have each tallied goals with the U-17’s this year. Perez leads the way having scored six times in 2015.
Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 2, 2015
US Soccer

Q&A: Richie Williams on U-17 MNT World Cup and the Make-up of the Squad

ussoccer.com: How do you feel about this roster you were able to assemble?
Richie Williams:
“I think it’s a pretty well-rounded roster. 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.”

ussoccer.com: Were there difficult decisions that had to be made to get to a 21-player roster?
RW: “There’s always difficult decisions to be made. There are guys that have been with us the whole time here at residency and didn’t make the roster. It’s difficult because they’re 16 and 17-years-old and they put a lot into it and worked extremely hard. To leave players off the roster is definitely always difficult, but I think we had a very fair process and we had the ability through these two years to play many international matches. Everyone has been able to start in international matches, come off the bench and have opportunities to play through training and through games. I think we came up with a really talented and strong group that we think will do really well for us.”

ussoccer.com: Are there certain qualities that, with your experience, you know are important that players have to be successful in a World Cup?
RW: “I think you need a group of guys that are willing to compete. For as talented as you are, I think you need to be able to get out there and compete and play as a team. You need players that are willing to play their role and do what it takes for the team to be successful and that’s not always the guys scoring goals or keeping the goals out of the back of the net, but willing to do whatever it takes to get positive results. Whether you’re starting or coming off the bench, you’re there for the team and I think in any major tournament, with a team in any sport, you’ve got to be competitive and willing to give your best for the team and that’s ultimately the end product to win the World Cup as a team.”

ussoccer.com: The team will play in the opening game of the tournament against Nigeria. Is it a challenge playing in the first game?
RW: “I think it’s a great challenge and I think the guys will be excited. It’s a great opportunity to compete against the champions of the last World Cup and I think our guys are going to have a lot of energy, they’re going to be excited and they’re going to be ready to play, so we’re looking forward to it. I think every World Cup game is important. You can’t say one is any more important than the other. You can’t overlook any team. It’s a World Cup game and everybody’s got to be ready to go. Whether you think they’re the strongest opponent or the weakest opponent, it’s the World Cup and all the games are very important and very competitive and anything could happen, especially if you’re not ready to play.”

ussoccer.com: In group play you will also go up against the host, Chile. What challenges does playing against the host nation present?
RW: “We’ve played them before. We played them in Chile and drew them 2-2. It was a good game and we had more opportunities to score that we didn’t take and we made a couple of errors on defense, but I think we played very well against Chile. We have experience against them, we’re familiar with them and I’m sure they’ve developed like we have and gotten better so we have to be ready. I think games against the host can work in two ways. They’re going to come out with energy so we have to be ready to match their energy, they’ll have the crowd behind them and it’ll be the third group game so there could be a lot on the line and we have to make sure we’re ready to go and be able to absorb their energy from the beginning. But I think also sometimes it can, especially with young players, potentially work the opposite where they could be really excited and feel a little bit of pressure because they’re playing at home and are expected to do well and if that’s the case we have to take advantage of that to and potentially pressure them and get after them right from the beginning of the game.”

ussoccer.com: Was it helpful to have played against Chile in Chile a year ago?
RW: “I believe so. We’re familiar with the country, even though we’ll be in different cities. We’ve taken the flight from Miami and we have the same travel plan. Just being there the year before, I think it helps and definitely benefits us.”

ussoccer.com: Have the last two years prepared the group for the challenge ahead?
RW: “I believe so. I think we have an experienced team and I think we have enough games. We’ve traveled to different parts of the world and we’ve had games here in the United States and we’ve been able to play different teams from different parts of the world. Again, for me, that Chile game that we were able to play was important. We were able to play Turkey in Turkey, France in France, the list goes on. I think we’ve given our guys a ton of experiences through International matches and again in our training here in Residency over the last two years we’ve been able to look at players. We’ve had some that were right with us in the beginning. We’ve had some that have been added over time, because we know over time with development, things change and guys are going to step up and do a little bit better and some guys might fall off, but I think the process has given them a huge opportunity. It’s really going to benefit them. I think U.S. Soccer has done a really good job of being able to give them these opportunities to play domestic and international games to get them ready for the World Cup.”

ussoccer.com: What is the team’s schedule between now and the start of the World Cup?
RW: “We will play South Korea twice in the next week (in Bradenton). They are a World Cup team, so it’s another great preparation opportunity for us, and we didn’t want to go too long without playing 90 minutes against an opponent. We’ll do an intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 9, and then we take off two days later for Chile. We’ll have four good days of training there before we open up against Nigeria.”

ussoccer.com: When you informed the 21 players who would be going to Chile, what was your message to them?
RW: “First of all to say congratulations and that they should be proud of the fact that they have made the final roster and will get to represent the United States. We started this process two years ago and want to finish in a very positive way. We still have a couple weeks to train and focus on all the little details, and they need to focus and get ready.”

ussoccer.com: With almost three weeks to go before the tournament, why the decision to tell them team now?
RW: “We thought a lot about the timing. Things are a bit different here with Residency, because the guys didn’t make the final roster will still continue to train and stay in school, so we wanted to give them a chance to be prepared. Obviously they are disappointed, but we also want them to understand that this is only the beginning for them. Not making the World Cup roster doesn’t mean the end, and they will still have opportunities to come. For the guys going, we wanted to let them know now so everyone can start focusing. It’s been a great two years of building camaraderie and chemistry, now the focus needs to shift on the 21 guys that are going to Chile. As a player when you know you are on the list and who is going to be there with you, things get even more locked in as a unit. We can speak with guys individually so they know exactly what roles they are going to play, and make sure everybody knows the expectations and that they are ready to go.”

ussoccer.com: There are two players on the roster – Luca de la Torre and Danny Barbir – who have never been in Residency and others who have moved on to professional clubs. How were you able to monitor them and keep them integrated in the group?
RW: “Luca and Danny started with our U-15’s so they knew the group, and we have been able to keep them in involved from day one in terms of  participating in the majority of domestic and international trips.  We also monitor them through updates from their clubs.  Other guys were here for a year and then signed with professional clubs, which has been a great experience for them. Being around older professionals has helped them mature and develop as players. You can see they are growing, and that’s a positive.”

Read more
U-17 MNT Oct 2, 2015
×