In the US, the U-17 Program is King...
• I [Grant Whal] spent an inordinate amount of time recently tracking down this factoid regarding SI's four cover boys, who all played on the U.S.'s 1999 Under-17 World Cup side: No team in the '06 World Cup has as many players who've graduated to its roster from a single U-17 World Cup team as the U.S. and its class of '99 quartet. Here are the top five U-17 World Cup teams when it comes to providing players for '06 World Cup rosters:
United States, '99 (four): Beasley, Convey, Donovan, Onyewu
Costa Rica, '01 (three): Randall Azofeifa, Gabriel Badilla, Christian Bolanos
Poland, '99 (three): Pawel Brozek, Tomasz Kuszczak, Sebastian Mila
Japan, '95 (three): Junichi Inamoto, Shinji Ono, Naohiro Takahara
Australia, '89 U-16 (three): Keljko Kalac, Tony Popovic, Mark Schwarzer
Check out Whal's article on Beasley and other World Cup tidbits where I found this info.