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Meet the Future: New U.S. Under-17 program class unveiled


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The U.S. Under-17 residency program in Bradenton, Florida has produced many of the best players in American soccer and the next crop of would-be Freddy Adus, Jozy Altidores and Michael Bradleys is set to be revealed.

U.S. Under-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera announced this fall’s 40-player academy class and it boasts the nation’s best young talent, including Charles Renken (10), Carlos Martinez (11) and Earl Edwards (1) (all pictured above) and several other players who impressed for the U.S. Under-17 national team at the Nike Friendlies last December.

All 40 players are eligible for the 2009 Under-17 World Cup and the majority of that eventual U-17 team will come from the crop of standouts chosen as the latest in a storied line of professionals.

Here is the new U.S. Under-17 residency class:

U.S. Under-17 Residency Program participants

GOALKEEPERS ( 4): Samir Badr (Fairfax, Va.), Earl Edwards (San Diego, Calif.), Jonathan Kempin (K.C. Wizards Juniors), Spencer Richey (Crossfire Premier)

DEFENDERS (13): Michael Ambrose (El Paso, Texas), Julio Arjona (D.C. United Academy), Zachary Herold (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Perry Kitchen (Chicago Magic), Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire), Boyd Okwuonu (Edmond, Okla.), Emilio Orozco (Oxnard, Calif.), Shaquille Phillips (D.C. United Academy), Tyler Polak (Lincoln, Neb.), Alberto Rosas (Real So Cal), Alex Shinsky (York, Penn.), Jared Watts (North Meck), Eriq Zavaleta (Westfield, Ind.)

MIDFIELDERS (17): Jonathan Canales (Santa Ana, Calif.), Dustin Corea (Milwaukee, Ore.), Andrew Craven (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Sean Davis (Matchfit Academy), Bryan Duran (Duncanville, Texas), Victor Garza (Edinburg, Texas), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Joseph Gyau (FC DELCO), Donovan Henry (Schulz Academy), George Malki (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Carlos Martinez (Las Vegas, Nev.), Alex Molano (F.C. Dallas Juniors), Joel Nash (Birmingham, Ala.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire Academy), Charles Renken (Scott Gallagher), Dominic Sarle (BW Gottschee), Erik Stephenson (Surf)

FORWARDS (6): John Agudelo (N.Y. Red Bulls Academy), Jonathan Brown (Clinton, Miss), Jaime Gutierrez (West Coast FC), Stefan Jerome (Davie, Fla.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Red), Jack McInerney (Alpharetta, Ga.)

What do you think of the group? Have any insight on any of these players? Share your thoughts below.


  1. ELAC – Couldn’t agree with you more. This generation of footballers are more nationalized and it’s great to see more international diversity on the squad.

    A bit surprised that only 6 forwards are on the squad given that the Senior team is stretched thin up top. We need every U-17 squad to produce at least one quality forward.

  2. To Eric,

    Well before making smart remarks on Fridel’s Academy check the least of players that they have and compare it to the national list, they have talented players and two of them are in the list above for the US U17 National Team. It seems you have some type of Envy for the Fridel Academy.

    Regarding the Fridel’s Academy, Victor Garza has gained a lot of experience in the academy. Victor’s 5 TX State Championships, Regional Championship, and the 3rd place in National’s gave him a lot of experience in competition. Victor was also playing for Columbus Crew. He has been invited to try out for big clubs in England, Europe, and Mexico.

  3. I was a bit surprised that there was only 1 kid from the Red Bulls Academy in this list. Don’t think it means anything, but was surprised.

  4. Ted

    Seems like you have better knowledge of these kids than most of us do. No – I would guess most of us do NOT know about Stephan Jerome.

    Please enlighten us…

  5. Angel, give it a rest. Edson Buddle??? Are you kidding? the guy is inconsistent and has no international experience, you don’t bring untested players into hostile territory if you don’t have to. Let the players who were picked have a chance to prove themselves before we all start bashing them.

  6. where is Rob Derschang? also, does anyone know if Bryan Duran = Marlon Duran, or are those two different players, both playing midfield, both named Duran, both out of TX?

  7. Ives,

    here is this Article about Bob Bradley talking about why adu & Altidore were left out from the US roster Funny.

    – USA Coach Bob Bradley does not go into great detail about his roster decisions. He just doesn’t. Few coaches do. Sorry. That said, I did get him to talk a little bit today here in Miami about the decision to add young players such as Marvell Wynne and Michael Orozco while passing on Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore. It ain’t much, but here you go: The first thing he pointed out was that the red card suspension to Steve Cherundolo, on top of injuries to Jonathan Spector and Frankie Simek, necessitated the need for defensive help on the right side. Frankie Hejduk is likely to start, but Bradley needed reinforcement. As for the young attacking players, “I am not going to talk about all the players. When you pick a roster, you take all sorts of things into consideration and every roster says a lot of different things. I guess if I were to say one quick thing about young players is that we are always watching, we are always keeping track of how they are doing and we always are trying to continue to move the players who have earned the opportunities along at the right speed.”

    washington Post.

    can you believe what this man saying, that he always keep watching a the young player and keeping track on how they are doing on the right speed, So where is Kenny Cooper, Edson Buddle, and others.. Please Shoot me so I can stop feeling miserable. THIS GUY IS A JOKE,

  8. Agunte,

    To further Ives’ point as to why you are wrong: Johnny Exantus is on the Haitian U-17 national team, Matt Kassel is on the US U-20 national team, and Walter Hines is on the Costa Rican U-20 national team. But if you want to keep spouting ignorance and looking stupid, be my guest.

    As for the latest Bradenton kids, the only one I’ve seen is Joseph Gyau and he can definitely be a bona fide stud. I heard he’s already getting interest from good clubs abroad.

  9. Martinez, Jerome, Gyau, and Edwards are all sure bet MLS level pros. Martinez is my top pick to have world class potential. Hopefully noone will wreck his potential as he looks on track to stardom. Jerome has the tools to be the “next Altidore” or at least somewhat close. Gyau has had many “trials” at top European clubs and IIRC is well-connected (father and grandfather were internationals). Edwards looks as good as GK’s can at that age. Renken was called by some the “next Adu” and bears further watching. That’s my take on the older players.

  10. AGUNTE, it’s been at least a year since I wrote anything about the Red Bulls academy so give me a break with that. That said, not every player invited to the program accepts their invite, and not every academy player is American, so trying to use the U.S. Under-17 residency roster as a gauge for success among MLS academies isn’t exactly the smartest approach.

  11. Ives,

    I love Cabrera as a coach of this U17 Team, I saw the Friendly Tourney thay had before and I love the style of playing the are more aggrasive and attacker. It has that Latin Flavor that we need, I’m tired of the European style that Bob Bradley, Peter Nowak and Bruce Arena influence in the USNMT. Thats what I’m talking about now we are going to see new face, every lil bit of influence Latino, European, African, American all mixed and not carring about the sound of the last name. Just bunch of kids with talent and a good coach.. I hope they play like the Colombian style of the 1994 Colombian Team that beat the heck out Argentina..GOD FINALLy

  12. Question: Which MLS team academy has the most players in the list above?

    Answer: DC United

    So much for Red Bull’s much lauded (mainly by Ives) academy.

  13. I see that some of the players come from MLS academies. How does it work with their rights if the senior MLS club team wants to sign them?

  14. England used to have a nat’l academy. I think it was called Lilleshal.

    France did as well, I think. It was called Clairefontaine.

  15. to matt-

    just because youre not listed as a striker when the brandenton u-17 is released doesnt mean that you wont one day become one…from this list a majority of the guys (except the goalkeepers) could end up playing totally different positions if they stick it out with soccer until the professional level

  16. What is it with U.S. Soccer’s infatuation with defenders and midfielders?

    Six strikers out of 40 players invited. The future of U.S. goal scoring looks dim. There are talented strikers out there, develop them.

    Other than that, it is good to see that the academy system for the MLS is helping to develop talent.

  17. Interesting. I am curious what other countries have a national team academy system. Seems to be a huge advantage. Certainly, no one in CONCACAF does, right?…except maybe Cuba. If so, it’d be funny that the capitalist and communist handle young athletes in the same manner.

  18. Ives,

    Have you heard about this James Rogers kid (part of the RSL U-17 team that won the SUM cup in July)? He scored quite a few goals to lead the team through the tourney. Any reason why he isn’t being looked at?

  19. I had the oppurtunity to work with Boyd (OC) Okwuonu over the last two years and the lad is going to be a great professional one day. He has 3 older brothers that are all Big lads, and he will eventually grow too. Great speed, Great ability with both feet, can jump, but more than anything has great vision of the game. Congrats to all the lads, but BIG congrats to OC

  20. Joel Nash from Birmingham is a helluva midfielder.

    Ives – you going to get back to us on your little Jozy Altidore tidbit? I’m curious why you think (or whoever thinks) Jozy will be in the Nat’s wilderness for a while?

  21. Some notable names to familiarize people:

    Earl Edwards and Samir Badr are two excellent keepers.

    Shaquille Phillips is a good defender. Same with Jared Watts.

    Boyd Okwuonu is from Edmond, OK (my hometown), and I believe the second U17 resident from Edmond (Christian Ibeagha, now a sophomore defender at Duke, was the first).

    Bryan Duran, Charles Renken, Joseph Gyau, Carlos Martinez: I know it’s stupid to make predictions, especially at this age level, but that should be the first choice midfield for the next year or so. All are standout players. Victor Garza should also figure in.

    And of course, the fowards: Stephan Jerome everybody knows about. Alfred Koroma and Jack McInerney are both solid too.

    Most of the other players are unknown to me, but at this age level, most players are unknown.


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