Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meet Midfielder Jenna Richmond

Struck down by an ACL injury nine months before the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, defensive midfielder Jenna Richmond (above left with 2008 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year Kristie Mewis) couldn’t quite make it back into contention for a roster spot on that team. Now, she is focusing on trying to make the U.S. squad for the 2010 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a tournament that will take place in Germany next summer.

During a break in U-20 WNT training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., the high school junior from Centreville, Va., took a few minutes to answer 11 Questions for Center Circle on, ranging from her knee injury, to her short-term goals in 2009 and why Abby Wambach is “da bomb.”

Oh So Close!

The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team is currently encamped at the The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., during the very early stages of its preparations for qualifying for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. After experiencing the highs and the lows of a run to the title game at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, defender Cloee Colohan is preparing for another shot at lifting a trophy. You can read more about Colohan here.

Brazil Makes it 16

Brazil became the 16th team to qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup by defeating Bolivia 3-0 and winning Group A of the CONMEBOL qualifiers.

Goals from Wellington, Dodo and Romario paved the way to the CONMEBOL Championship, where they will face Group B winner Argentina on May 9.

Colombia and Bolivia meet on Friday, with both desperate to secure a place in Nigeria. Vying for second and third spot in Group B are Uruguay, Ecuador and Chile. The second and third-place teams will cross over to play the second and third place teams from Group A to determine the remaining two South American representatives. Venezuela is already eliminated.

Along with the two South American spots still open, the final six berths to Nigeria will be determined at the UEFA U-17 Championship from May 6-18.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

South America Qualifying Still Rolling

Argentina grabbed the first CONMEBOL berth to the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-0 win against Uruguay that sealed the top spot in Group B. The winners of the two groups - A and B - earn automatic bids to Nigeria and will battle for regional surpremacy in a championship match

The second and third place teams in each group will play a playoff to determine the third and fourth U-17 World Cup qualifiers from South America.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heading Home

Due to the growing concerns about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer announced Monday that the remainder of the confederation’s Under-17 Championship in Tijuana has been canceled.

The U.S. team will leave Tijuana today and will return to Bradenton, Fla., where the players and staff will return to training and classes with the rest of the Under-17 Residency Program.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team clinched a berth in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup by advancing to the semifinals, eventually winning Group A with victories against Cuba, Canada and Honduras. The U.S. was set to face Costa Rica in the semifinals on Wednesday, April 29, but with the four CONCACAF berths already determined the remainder of the event will not be played to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Day Out!

After a nice long recovery session this morning, the U.S. U-17s had a well-deserved afternoon off and ventured across the border to spend the day at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. The boys took in one of the movie options:

-I Love You Man
-Fast and the Furious

I Love You Man got good reviews, as did Fast and the Furious (some players list the first of that series as their favorite movie). Fighter and Obsessed had mixed reviews.

After the flick, the players had a few hours to walk around, do a little bit of shopping (lots of Nike gear from the Nike Store) and enjoy the sunshine of the outdoor mall. We don't get out much here in Tijuana!

Then it was a change of pace for dinner - the Cheesecake Factory. We have been eating a lot of the athlete staples, simple proteins and complex carbs (lots of chicken, pasta and rice) so it was a good chance to have something different.

Then it was back on the bus and back across the border (going out of San Diego was much easier than coming in!) to get to the team hotel in time for an early bedtime.

Tomorrow, it's back to the grind and back to the practice field to get ready for Costa Rica!

Costa Rica It Is

With Mexico's 1-0 victory against Costa Rica - via an own goal - this evening at Estadio Caliente, the hosts will take the top place in Group B. Costa Rica holds onto the second place, which means they will face the U.S. in the semifinals on Wednesday, April 29, at 12:30 p.m. PT. That game will be live on's MatchTracker.

Below, Perry Kitchen updates the big standings table outside the training room to reflect all nine group games....

Meet Perry Kitchen

U.S. U-17 MNT captain Perry Kitchen talked about his favorite memories and his friends and family in Indianapolis in the latest edition of "Get to Know Me"

Just to round out coverage from last night's win against Honduras, we bring you video of the team's reaction to winning Group A:

SportsCenter Top 10

We happened to catch ESPN Deportes this evening and were excited to see Jack McInerney's 36th minute goal vs. Honduras honored as one of the top plays of the day. Mixed in with everything from Serie A games to the NBA Playoffs to Major League Baseball, there was Jack.

Add it to his list of highlight reel goals we suppose..

Anyway, check it out by watching the whole game below!

Watch the Whole Game..... Here.

1st Half:

2nd Half:

That'll Do it For Group A

Honduras became the 12th team to qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 15. They joined the U.S. and Mexico in representing CONCACAF, with one bid from the region still outstanding - that will be either Guatemala or Costa Rica and we'll find out tomorrow (Sunday).

New Zealand won the Oceania bid on Friday afternoon. Nigeria has an automatic bid as host of the tournament, joining Algeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Malawi in representing Africa. Asia has also completed qualifying with Iran, Japan, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan slated to represent the continent in Nigeria. The South American tournament is currently underway in Inquique, Chile.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mexico Clinches

Mexico became the second team from CONCACAF to qualify for this year's FIFA U-17 World Cup, as they combined a 3-0 win today against Guatemala with a 7-0 win against T&T in the opener. El Tri will join the U.S. in representing the region in Nigeria.

Two other teams from CONCACAF are still to be determined though - one will come to fruition tomorrow and the other on Saturday afternoon.

Meet Luis Gil

The youngest member of the U-17 CONCACAF Championship team is our latest player to be featured in our on-going "Get to Know Me" series:

Dollar Store Treasure

Well... look what we found today at the Dollar Store in Tijuana:

That's right, a lovely hat bearing the name Luis' last name (this must be Luis Gil day on the YNT Blog). And yes, it is a $1 store - everything in there is 13.50 pesos, or just about one American dollar.

That Makes a Baker's Dozen

Sorry to those with Triskaidekaphobia, the U.S. has made it a lucky 13 trips to the U-17 World Cup... well, we suppose they will make it 13. Here are 13 other great things associated with the number 13:

  1. There are 13 players in a rugby league team.
  2. Kristine Lilly, who made more international appearances than any other player in the sport's history, wore #13 for the USA women's team (maybe you've heard of her)
  3. The number of colonies that formed the United States. The original flag had thirteen stars, one for each state.
  4. The American flag still has 13 stripes (seven red and six white)
  5. In the Great Seal of the United States there are 13 olive leaves (with 13 olives), 13 arrows, and 13 stars.
  6. Basketball Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain wore number 13. Three NBA teams, plus the Harlem Globetrotters, have retired his number.
  7. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino wore number 13 for the Miami Dolphins, who retired his number in 2000.
  8. 13 is the oungest age a minor can watch a PG-13 rated movie by the MPAA without the recommendation of parental guidance or parental consent.
  9. Ozzie Guillén, manager of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox, has worn the number throughout his baseball career.
  10. Colgate University also considers 13 to be a lucky number. They were founded in 1819 by 13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers, and 13 articles.
  11. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash wears the number 13.
  12. Thirteen is a prime number
  13. E Pluribus Unum - well that has 13 letters
This is all boding very well for the United States so far... Can you add any others?

Keeping the Streak Alive

As you know by now, the U.S. is the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup (formerly the FIFA U-16 World Championship) since the tournament’s inception in 1985 – a total of 13 tournaments.

Some other notable and seemingly perennial U-17 qualifiers:

Team U-17s WCs Notes
Brazil 11 2009 South American qualifying is currently underway
Argentina 9 With No. 10 possibly pending, see above
Nigeria 8 Three time winners, includes automatic bid as ‘09 host
Germany 7 Includes Germany FR (’85) and Germany DR (’87, ’89)

Watch U.S. vs. Canada

The first half of the USA vs. Canada match is now posted on YouTube! You can check it out below:

Goals scored in 2nd, 30th and 34th minute - Pay special attention to McInerney's rocket around 28:05 of the video:

Here's the second half as well:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Win and We're In

The U.S. U-17s can clinch a berth to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria with a win against Canada tomorrow. That's in the back of the players minds as they mentally prepare for tomorrow afternoon's game.

The U.S. holds a 4-1 record against Canada at this event and will look to make it 5-1 tomorrow on what is supposed to be a much cooler day here in Tijuana that Tuesday was. Nonetheless, these guys are recouped and recovered and ready for a battle.

Most of the team went through a pool recovery session this morning and mostly took it easy this afternoon before some meetings and strategy talk this evening. We'll have more tomorrow leading up to the game so stay tuned!

The Hosts Step Up

After the USA's big win yesterday, Mexico stepped up and put a thumping on Trinidad & Tobago in front of a raucous packed house at Estadio Caliente this afternoon.

The capacity crowd went crazy as Mexico scored three goals in the first 28 minutes and never let up. They now have sole possession of first place in Group B because Costa Rica tied Guatemala earlier in the day.

Next up for Mexico is Guatemala... those two teams will duke it out on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. PT, after T&T will look to rebound against Costa Rica at 1:30 p.m. PT

It's Tahiti or New Zealand in Oceania

Tahiti needs only a draw against New Zealand to earn Oceania's sole bid to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which would add to an already remarkable year in which Tahiti's U-20 team has already qualified for the U-20 World Cup.

The two teams are set to battle on Friday. If New Zealand wins, they take the bid. If Tahiti wins or ties, they are heading to Nigeria.

From the New Zealand Herald:

New Zealand are one win away from the under-17 soccer World Cup in Nigeria after beating New Caledonia 2-0 in the Oceania age group championship in Auckland today.

The Young All Whites dominated possession and territory but could not convert their advantage on the scoreboard and must now beat Tahiti on Friday to book their passage to Africa in October.

Earlier today, Tahiti fought back from a goal down at halftime against Vanuatu to win 4-1 and stay ahead of New Zealand on goal difference.

Tahiti need only a draw against the New Zealanders to qualify for the world event.

Reaction: USA 5, CUB 0

Players and coaches react to yesterday's big win against Cuba:

Off to a Good Start

Though there is still work to be done in Tijuana, the U.S. got off to a good start last night with a big win against Cuba. You can read more about the game by clicking here. You can also watch head coach Wilmer Cabrera, forwards Jack McInerney and Stefan Jerome and midfielder Luis Gil react by watching this post game video.

What's that? You want to watch the whole game? Well if you have 90 minutes and decent internet access, you can watch the whole thing by clicking here - that's right.

Oh and about that scoreboard... There was a stadium employee who was climbing to change the manual scoreboard after every goal. Needless to say, he was probably pretty tired after climbing up there five times during the U.S. game...

Watch Yesterday's Game: USA 5, CUB 0

The U-17s got off to the best possible qualifying start yesterday, with a 5-0 victory against Cuba. Goals from Stefan Jerome, Jack McInerney (2), Sebastian Lletget, and Luis Gil put the U.S. in the Group A drivers seat. has put up full match videos from the game in Tijuana:
1st Half

2nd Half

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sudamericana Sub-17 Update

In Inquique, Chile, the Copa Sudamericana Sub-17 continued today with Brazil taking another step toward a place in the tournament's final round with a 3-0 win against Peru that gave them six points in two games. Bolivia also put itself in a good position to advance as a 1-0 win against Paraguay gave them four points through two games.

Group A continues on Wednesday. Here is how South American qualifying breaks down:

Two groups of five teams play a round robin. Then top three teams from each group all play each other. Then the top FOUR out of those six qualify for the World Cup. Got it? Good!

Group B continues on Tuesday with Chile facing Argentina and Venezuela takes on Ecuador.

Monday, April 20, 2009

As Ready as They'll Ever Be!

The U.S. U-17s kick off their qualifying campaign tomorrow afternoon, taking on Cuba at 4 p.m. PT. (That's 7 p.m. for those of you on the East Coast.)

We'll have more about the game right here on the YNT Blog tomorrow leading up to the game, but make sure you're tuned into's MatchTracker - if you're not one of the hundreds of Americans joining us across the border, that is!

U-17 Games to be Shown on

Though they won't be live, we just confirmed that the CONCACAF U-17 Championship will be shown on on a delay. They're going to convert the games to You Tube and then upload them to their website, which we think is pretty cool.

If you think this sounds familiar, then you would be correct. The confederation did the same thing last summer for the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship in Puebla, Mexico. You can STILL go back and watch those games online here:

So, if you can't make the games in person, check online a few hours after the game wraps up to catch a glimpse.

Meet Marlon

At 5 feet 4 inches tall, Marlon Duran isn’t necessarily built like the typical defensive midfielder, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t play like one. Nicknamed “Midget” by his teammates on the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, the Duncanville, Texas native hasn’t let his short stature keep him back from accomplishing lofty goals.

With his next aspiration to qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Duran sat down with to answer 11 questions about everything from his nickname, to his role on the team, to what it’s been like growing up alongside his teammates.

Click here to read more.

Insert "Earl of" Something Joke Here

Earl Edwards, one of the top prospects on the U-17 Men’s National Team since arriving in Bradenton in the fall of 2007, was not always a goalkeeper. For that matter, he wasn’t always a soccer player.

He earned two shutouts in his first two international games at the U-17 level – an impressive feat to be sure, but considering that they came against Russia and Brazil, live on national television, only adds to the accomplishment.

Though Edwards enjoyed playing in those games and other friendly matches against the likes of Argentina, Spain and France, the goalkeeper knows that him and his teammates have been building toward the CONCACAF U-17 Championship. This is when the games start to count.

Read more about the Earl of the goal? No, that doesn't work... Just Earl Edwards will do... by clicking here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Action Continues in Inquiqui

South of the equator, U-17 World Cup qualifying continued as Argentina topped Venezuela 2-1 and Uruguay knocked off host Chile at Estadio Tierras de Campeones.

CONMEBOL action continues on Monday when Bolivia battles Paraguay and Brazil takes on Peru in Group A action.

Lincoln? Is that you?

During today's walk and stretch around the hotel (the streets were closed to traffic because, well, it's Sunday and that's what happens here). We saw this massive statue of Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the city square.

For some trivia fun, does anyone know why he's there?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mount Rushmore + Columbus Crew Stadium

Today, Honduras arrived and, with the rest of the teams coming in over the next couple of days, today is the "official" start of the tournament. When the team returned to the hotel after its morning session, they were greeted by the fresh and friendly faces of some volunteers, who welcomed the team with a nice custom sign.

The sign contained two popular landmarks that represented our country: Mount Rushmore and Columbus Crew Stadium. For some reason, futbol fans in Mexico must think of Columbus Crew Stadium when they think of American soccer....

The Olympic Training Center

Earl Edwards

The U-17s held their first two training sessions today at the Centro de AltoRendimiento Baja California - which very roughly translates into the High Performance Center of Baja California. It's the equivilant of the nearby U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista Calif. in that some of Mexico's best athletes train here.

Next to the soccer field were the swimming and diving training centers, complete with one of those pits filled with foam that divers and gymnasts use to practice.

The U.S. team will make themselves comfortable at the facility as they settle in to daily training there. Oh yea, that mountain in the background shows how close we are to the United States - most of Otay Mountain (the biggest one you can see in the distance) falls in California.

Meanwhile in Iquique...

While eight CONCACAF teams prepare for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, South American qualifying is already underway in Iquique, Chile.

Last night, Brazil stifled Paraguay 4-0 in the tournament opener behind two goals from Coutinho.

In the second game of the night, Columbia - former home of U.S. head coach Wilmer Cabrera - got off to a flying start against Bolivia, scoring a goal in just the second minute. But a 74th minute equalizer from Bolivia forced Columbia to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Group B action begins today as Argentina squares off against Venezuela and Chile looks to use their home field advantage against Uruguay.

Running Red Lights

Much to the dismay of commuters in Tijuana, our police escorts have been successfully stopping traffic all over town to make way for our bus everywhere we need to go. The Baja California police have done an excellent job of blocking off intersections, whether we have the green light or not.

Making sure everyone gives us the right of way

Happy drivers wait through a green light

Here We Are!

Check out our first video from Tijuana... The players talk about their travel day and the first training session here in Mexico:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Davies Heading Stateside

U.S. U-20 defender and captain Kyle Davies has been allocated to Real Salt Lake after two years with Southampton in England. RSL acquired Davies' rights via a special allocation lottery that was held on Thursday.

He will be reporting to camp next week.

We MacGuyver-ed It

Have you ever seen a hotel door latch itself when no one is in the room? Because we have.

We returned from training today and Marlon Duran and Alex Shinsky's room was latched from the inside. How on earth does that happen? After much finagling and trying to open it with everything from a credit card to cardboard, we finally found the magic tool - a spoon.

Photographer John Dorton - who is well known in the Bradenton area for being handy around the house - unscrewed the hinge on the door with less than an inch of room using a spoon. The round part. It was rather impressive and John was rather proud of himself.

Anyway, Marlon and Alex safely returned to their rooms and made it downstairs on time for lunch.

We're Here!

The U.S. team arrived - with lots of bags - in San Diego this afternoon, with a surprise appearance from Earl Edwards parents at the airport. It was a quick drive across the border into Mexico. Once we passed through the border, we were about five minutes from the hotel that will host several of the CONCACAF teams.

Now that everyone is getting settled onto the team floor (and adjusting to the Pacific Time Zone) - we will have much more coverage of the U-17 MNT in the quest to qualify, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All... Out?

With most teams, as camp starts, players trickle in from their various clubs and the team feels complete when the last player arrives. With Residency, all 40 players start together and half departed today for Tijuana.

Of the 20 player roster, eight are members of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Clubs. The State of California contributes the most players with four while Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Washington State send two each.

The team has a full day of travel ahead of them, but we'll be back from Tijuana!

You can check out the full roster here:

Or see the roster by position right here:

Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Earl Edwards (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (7): Zachary Herold (West Pines United FC; Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic AS Monaco; Indianapolis, Ind.), Emilio Orozco (Rampage FC; Oxnard, Calif.), Tyler Polak (Capital Soccer Academy; Lincoln, Neb.), Alex Shinsky (Super Nova FC; York, Pa.), Jared Watts (North Meck SC; Statesville, N.C.), Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride; Westfield, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Andrew Craven ( First Coast Kicks; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Bryan Duran (Latino Americana; Duncanville, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores; Garden Grove, Calif.), Sebastian Lletget (Santa Clara SC; South San Francisco, Calif), Carlos Martinez (Wilmington Jr.; San Pedro, Calif.), Nicholas Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC; Battleground, Wash.)
FORWARDS (5): John Agudelo (New York Red Bulls; Barnegat, N.J.), Dustin Corea (East Side United FC; Milwaukee, Ore.), Joseph Gyau (FC DELCO; Silver Springs, Md.), Stefan Jerome (West Pines United; FC Davie, Fla.), Jack McInerney (Cobb SC; Alpharetta, Ga.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gambia Claims Africa's U-17 Crown

Having already qualified for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup, Gambia claimed its second African U-17 trophy on Sunday, dispatching host Algeria 3-1 in the final. En route to the crown, the Baby Scorpions scored 12 goals in five matches while only conceding one - a penalty kick in the final.

The other teams that will look to keep the U-17 World Cup trophy on the continent are Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger and host/reigning world champion Nigeria.

Groups Set for Egypt

Well, the draw for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt took place last night at what was widely hailed as an extravagant event at the Luxor Museum. The 24 teams are now set into six groups of four to compete for U-20 World Cup glory.

The U.S. will be looking to advance out of Group C of the tournament, taking on Germany, Cameroon and Korea Republic along the way. The U.S. also has the distinction of being in one place - Mubarak Stadium in Suez - for the duration of group play.

To see what head coach Thomas Rongen and some of the players had to say, click here. We'll have much more from Rongen after his return from Egypt, where he is doing site visits and attending some informational workshops in between visiting pyramids, later this week.

FIFA U-20 World Cup
Group C Schedule
(Complete Draw Results)

Date Match-up Venue Kickoff (Local/ET)
Sept. 26 USA vs. Germany Mubarak Stadium; Suez 4 p.m. / 10 a.m.
Sept. 29 USA vs. Cameroon Mubarak Stadium; Suez 6:45 p.m. / 12:45 p.m.
Oct. 2 USA vs. Korea Republic Mubarak Stadium; Suez 6:45 p.m. / 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pick a Pot!

With the FIFA U-20 World Cup Draw just a day away, FIFA has announced the different pots that the 24 countries will be drawn from. Each of the six groups will be made up of one team from each pot at tomorrow's draw in Luxor, Egypt. Because every champion of the event has come from either Europe or South America, the champions of those two confederations (Brazil and Germany) are seeded, along with the hosts. Seeded teams will be distinguished with different colored balls. Here are the pots:

Pot 1: Egypt (seeded), Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil (seeded)
Pot 2: Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica, USA, Honduras,
Pot 3: UAE, Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tahiti,
Pot 4: Germany (seeded), Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, England

As you can see, the possibilities are virtually endless... stay tuned to tomorrow afternoon for results and reaction!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

UEFA U-17 Championship Preparations

As the U.S. U-17 MNT continues preparation for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, the buzz in Europe for their regional competition is growing ahead of the final draw, which is set for Friday, April 3.

The tournament itself will take place from May 6-18 and according to UEFA, over 16,000 tickets for the U-17 final in Germany have already been sold! The eight teams in the final round are: host Germany, 2007 winners Spain, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and Switzerland.

Six of those eight will move on to represent Europe at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year.