2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup Is Upon Us...
The next event for the men, the FIFA U-17 World Cup, is kicking off this Saturday, August 18th, in Suwon, South Korea. The US will see their first action on Monday, August 20th, in Changwon against Tajikistan. Below is the team's group stage schedule:
20 Aug - Tajikistan vs. USA - Live on ESPNU at 7:00 am EDT
23 Aug - USA vs. Tunisia - Live on ESPN2 at 4:00 am EDT
26 Aug - Belgium vs. USA - Live on ESPNU at 3:00 am EDT
Note the live television broadcasts on the ESPN network. Previously these games would be on a Spanish language channel, but to my knowledge this is the first time we're seeing them in English. Correct me if I'm wrong. Who's going to stay up for these like they did in 2002? Not I, the DVR is magic. Too bad ESPNU is so hard to come by.
The team arrives in South Korea today to start their amazing journey through a World Cup. For some this will be a once in a lifetime experience. For others it will be the first of many World Cups.
US Soccer has put a couple of videos out so you can meet the team. Say hello to the US U-17 Men's National Team. (For some reason youtube has not posted the embed link, once they do I will post that way.)
You can also see some clips of the kids in action.
It is hard to imagine the US not advancing out of the group stage in this event. However, the three teams we're grouped with are big unknowns. They could rise up and pull an Austria. Should the US make it out of the group, based upon their finishing rank in the group and all of these other teams' final rank in their groups, they could face Costa Rica, Togo, Korea Republic, Peru, Nigeria, France, Japan, Haiti, Colombia, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago or Ghana. Personally I enjoy seeing that Brazil and Argentina aren't on that list. We'll know what the knockout round looks like once all group games are finished August 26th.
Many of the Americans playing in this event are too young to be starting college, however a few will be freshmen once they return from South Korea. Below is the roster and which college they are attending in the fall, if they are headed to college. Additionally there is one professional player in the ranks:
Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wis.) - N/A
Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.) - N/A
Larry Jackson (East Palo Alto, Calif.) - N/A
Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.) - N/A
Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.) - N/A
Tommy Meyer (St. Louis, Mo.) - N/A
Chris Klute (Grand Prairie, Texas) - N/A
Kofi Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio) - N/A
Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.) - N/A
Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.) - Wake Forest
Jared Jeffrey (Dallas, Texas) - N/A
Kirk Urso (Lombard, Ill.) - N/A
Dane Shea (College Station, Texas) - N/A
Gregory Garza (Grapevine, Texas) - N/A
Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.) - N/A
Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.) - N/A
Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.) - U of Washington
Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga.) - N/A
Abdusalam Ibrahim (FC Dallas) - FC Dallas
Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.) - N/A
Daniel Cruz (Glendale, Ariz.) - UNLV
There is a chance a player on the above roster will turn pro after the tournament. MLS could sign someone and assign them to a club, or a foreign club may sign someone based on their play at the tournament. Anymore all of these players have a good chance at becoming professional soccer players. If you get a chance to watch one of these games, do. The younger teams often play a more attacking style of play, sometimes completely ignoring defensive responsibilities. Enjoy!
You can now find a history of the US' performance in the U-17 World Cup in the right margin.