Less than two months after a group stage exit for the US U-17 national team at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the road to 2017 will begin in earnest for the next crop of US hopefuls with a friendly tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, beginning on Wednesday.
Former Philadelphia Union and US U-17 coach John Hackworth will take charge of the team for the tournament. US Soccer has not publicly issued a statement regarding the future of Richie Williams, who coached the last two cycles of U-17 national teams.
The new group is made up mostly of players born in 2000. The US will play England, the Netherlands and Brazil, with games being streamed on the US Soccer YouTube page.
The 21-player roster includes nine players representing six MLS clubs, with D.C. United, the LA Galaxy and the Philadelphia Union each contributing two players. Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy), Kelee Cornfield-Saunders (LA Galaxy), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City), Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union), Chandler Vaughn (D.C. United) and Adrian Villegas (Portland Timbers) all competed in April's Generation adidas Cup, a U-17 tournament, as 15-year-olds, although Cornfield-Saunders played for Chivas USA.
The roster also includes the rare American international who suits up for Toronto FC, Ayomide Akinola, and Timothy Weah, son of former Liberia and AC Milan star George Weah. The younger Weah currently plays in the youth system of Paris-St. Germain. Midfielder James Sands plays for the New York Soccer Club, a youth affiiliate of New York City FC.
Complete US roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alexander Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Dos Santos (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Justin Garces (Kendall FC; Miami, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (7): Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy, Glendora, Calif.), Kelee Cornfield-Saunders (LA Galaxy; San Marcos, Calif.), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Bryan Perez (LA Premier FC; Los Angeles, Calif.), Chandler Vaughn (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Andrew Carleton (Georgia United; Powder Springs, Ga.), Blaine Ferri (Solar; Southlake, Texas), Christopher Goslin (Georgia United; Locust Grove, Ga.), James Sands (New York Soccer Club; Rye, N.Y.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.), Adrian Villegas (Portland Timbers; Hood River, Ore.)
FORWARDS (4): Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.), Tonny Temple (IMG Academy; Millville, Pa.), Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.; Rosedale, N.Y.)