U.S. Youth National Teams

U.S. U-17 head coach Williams names 20-man roster for Nike Friendlies

RichieWilliamsUSSoccer4 (Mexsport)


U.S. Under-17 head coach Richie Williams has named a 20-man squad for the annual Nike International Friendlies, where the U.S. will face Portugal, England, and Brazil in their first real tests as part of the current cycle.

Five players in the squad including top prospects Haji Wright (LA Galaxy), George Braima (Columbus Crew and Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls) come from MLS academies, while another two, Luca de la Torre (Fulham FC) and Joe Gallardo (Monterrey) currently ply their trade abroad. Defender Daniel Barbir, who is currently in Manchester and reportedly is soon to join the Manchester City academy, is in the squad as well.

Williams’ squad begin their tournament with a match against Portugal on Monday at 5pm, followed by England on Wednesday at 5pm and then Brazil on Friday at 5pm. All matches will be streamed live on USSoccer.com.

The U.S. U-17s most recently played in two friendly matches against Canada, which saw the USA sweep the proceedings with a 3-0 win on Nov. 16 and a 2-0 win on Nov. 17. Williams and his coaching staff used two different squads for each game.

Former U.S. players in the Nike International Friendlies include current pros Jack McInerney, Juan Agudelo, Kellen Acosta, and Luis Gil, while on the international side, current Brazil stars such as Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu have played in the prestigious tournament.

Here’s a closer look at the U-17 squad for the 2013 Nike International Friendlies:


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.)


What do you think of this squad? Who are you looking forward to see? Any surprises in this group? Which players do you expect to stand out?

Share your thoughts below.

  • DCU Socal Fan

    Love Richie, mad respect for a former United player… but…BUT REALLY!…

    this is exactly what I have mentioned in previous posts…our farm systems

    need international experience, USSF needs to invest and bring in coaches with

    an international pedigree these young men need to be exposed to the conditioning and

    tactical training of the elite around the world…once again much respect to Richie…


  • Ryan

    5 of 20 players in MLS academies. I’m not sure what that number’s been in the past, but I would have hoped that MLS would be developing more than 25% of our youth national team players at this point.


    • Jahinho_Guerro

      + Agree

      The best talent should be at MLS Academies, the only exceptions should be NASL/USL academies, and European/Mexican academies.


    • James

      I had this same thought at first. Add the two international players (Luca de la Torre – Fulham and Joe Gallardo – Monterrey) you’ve got 7/20. This still doesn’t seem great, but go through the roster and look where a lot of these kids are from. Some are close to MLS Academies, which is curious, but many are at least a few hours form an MLS team.


    • wood chip zip

      Most of these players who are not in an academy abroad are in US Soccer Development Academies, this includes the MLS academies. Non MLS academies have to meet the same standards as MLS academies to be a Development Academy. In some cases the non MLS academies are better than MLS academies because they are more established, better run, and, most importantly, have more experience developing players from a young age.


      • Jester

        Agree. Some of the Non MLS development academies have been developing the nation’s top players since before MLS even existed.


      • Josh D

        And you have to keep in mind that club academies also have foreigners. DC United had Najar from Honduras and Seaton I think it is from Jamaica.


    • Dennis

      MLS teams are not moving players to be closer to the club’s home. 25% is probably a greater fraction than the fraction of the US population living less that a 1 1/2 hour commute from an MLS club. It would be interesting to see how that works out, but with no clubs in the southeast or northern states and none in the following 34 states FL, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, KY, TN, VA, MD, WV, OK, AR, WI, MN, ND, SD, MT, ID, WY, ME, VT, NH, NV, NE, AR, NM, IN, MI, CN, RI, HI, AK it is not surprising that the MLS clubs have not touched most of the under 16 year-olds who might be helped by better training. Also, it is not surprising that even those young players identified and close enough to an MLS team really pan out by the time they reach the ripe old age of 16.


      • Mason

        Nit: MD and NoVA are close to DC. RI is close to MA as is the part of NH and ME that are actually populated.

        Other than that nitpick, pretty good point.


      • Jester

        Dennis, educate yourself on the US Soccer development academies . Over 80 of them across the country. There is nothing magical about an MLS academy when it comes to developing young talent . Lots of non MLS clubs have way more experience at doing this than MLS academies.


      • Ryan

        There are 111M people in the 16 DMAs covered by MLS teams (including Baltimore in with DC), or about 35% of the population.


  • mike

    when neymar played with the u17s…does a hone know if the u.s. e er played them? would be curious to know what happened.


    • Elite Hunting

      If I would have read the story instead of just looking at the roster I could have avoided posting something already mentioned. Duh.


      • bryan

        well, Perez is with Fiorentina yet is listed in this article as unattached. so they did mess up one. haha


  • bryan

    1-1 now. Portugal starting to dominate our defense. probably should have a few goals to be honest. US defense needs to get it together.


  • bryan

    much better 2nd half, per usual with US teams. De La Torre looked fantastic and by far the best US player. Wright was solid as well and did well when he moved to RW, although he had two open headers he should have done better on when he was playing up top. Olosunde also looked strong at RB when getting forward and was solid enough on defense. but he certainly got worked a few times by Sambu.

    Perez was just ok for me on the left, had a pretty heavy touch and failed to make too much of an impact. Calvillo, the #6, was disappointing as well. overall, good showing from the US, specifically the 2nd half. but what a TERRIBLE way to give up the goal to go down 2-1 in stoppage time. awful marking, awful foul by Da Silva (who was playing CB…?). and the US got punished for it.


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