One year ago, the US Under-17 national team scored a memorable upset of their Brazilian counterparts to win the Nike International Friendlies title. On Monday, head coach Richie Williams (above) named the 20-player squad that will try to repeat the feat.
Eight players return from that tournament-winning squad, including Portland Timbers Academy forward Rubin Rubio (who was also named 2012 US Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year), Seattle Sounders Academy goalkeeper Paul Christensen and New York Red Bulls Academy midfielder Christopher Lema.
Of Williams’ 20-man roster, 13 come from USSF Development Academy clubs, including seven from MLS academies.
The lone internationally based player is a familiar name: Emerson Hyndman. The 16-year-old midfielder from Fulham’s academy is the grandson of FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman.
The defending champion US kick off the tournament on Wednesday against Brazil, last year’s runners-up, followed by matches against Turkey on Friday and Portugal on Sunday. The tournament is held at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., not far from US Soccer's famed Bradenton Academy.
Williams will be coaching in his first Nike International Friendlies. His U-17s have posted a 6-3-2 record in their last 11 matches.
FULL US U-17 ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders Academy; Woodinville, Wash.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls Academy; South River, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6): Jordan Cano (FC Dallas Academy; Richardson, Texas), Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Elijah Martin (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Minneapolis), Junior Flores (McLean Youth Soccer; Manassas Park, Va.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC Academy; Canton, Texas), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls Academy; Ridgefield, N.J.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana Fire Academy; Carmel, Ind.), Rolando Muñoz (LA Galaxy Academy; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Lake Worth, Fla.), Rubio Rubin (Portland Timbers Academy; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)