CHICAGO (April 2, 2019) — New U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Raphael Wicky has named a 26-player roster for his first training camp in charge of the team. Running from April 4-8 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the camp will serve as the team’s final preparation before kicking off the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in May.
“I’m really excited to begin this journey with my new team,” Wicky said. “I’m looking forward to meeting both the players and the staff. I have spent a lot of time watching film and studying the players, as well as talking with clubs and U.S. Soccer leaders, which has prepared me well for this camp. Now, I finally get a chance to work with the players in person and prepare them for World Cup qualifying.”
The training camp will provide Wicky his first opportunity to work with the U-17 player pool ahead of the U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament where the U.S. will aim to qualify for a record 17th World Cup at the U-17 age level. The USA will face Canada (May 2), Barbados (May 4) and Guatemala (May 6) in the group stage of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, which will be held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Twenty-four of the 26 players headed to Lakewood Ranch have spent at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Twenty-two have played in the current 2018-19 season, including every player currently based at a U.S. club.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2002 are age-eligible for the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship. Wicky has called 24 players born in 2002 and two born in 2003.
U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (4): Aaron Cervantes (Orange County SC; Chino Hills, Calif.), Bryan Dowd (FC United; Willow Springs, Ill.), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alberta)
DEFENDERS (8): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.) Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Antino Lopez (Shattuck – St. Mary’s; Las Vegas, Nev.), Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.), Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.), Peter Stroud (West Ham United/ENG; Chester, N.J.)
FORWARDS (9): Sagir David Arce (Morelia/MEX; Chihuahua, Mexico), Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), Cameron Dunbar (LA Galaxy; Chula Vista, Calif.), Andres Jasson (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Joshua Pynadath (Ajax/NED; Los Altos Hills, Calif.), Giovanni Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.), Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.)
- Seventeen clubs are represented on the roster, with 21 players coming from domestic teams and four based internationally in Canada, England, Mexico and the Netherlands.
- The LA Galaxy provided the most players with four. Three come from New York City FC, while D.C. United, FC United and Seattle Sounders FC each have two players on the roster.
- Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Daniel Leyva is the lone player to make his first U-17 MNT camp appearance.
- Dating back to the 2017 Nike International Friendlies, defenders Axel Alejandre and Adam Saldana along with goalkeeper Damian Las have appeared in all 11 U-17 camps this cycle.
- Seven players have seen professional minutes in 2019.
- Ricardo Pepi made his professional debut with a bang on March 30, netting a hat trick for North Texas SC in USL League One against the Chattanooga Red Wolves.
- Prior to his pro debut, Pepi scored goals at a torrid pace during the 2018-19 Development Academy season. The forward currently leads the U-16/17 age group in scoring, tallying 19 goals in just eight games.
- Griffin Yow has played in all three games for Loudon United FC this season, and scored a goal in his first pro start on March 16.
- Leyva has appeared in all four games for the Tacoma Defiance this season, while Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez has played in three.
- Goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes made his pro debut on March 23, starting against New Mexico United.
- Defender Kobe Hernandez and midfielder Gilbert Fuentes made their first pro starts on March 9 and March 16, respectively.
- Seven players were named to 2017-18 Academy Best XIs for their respective conferences-Reyna, Joseph Scally and Griffin Yow in the East, Alejandre and Las in the Central as well as Hernandez and defender Adam Saldana in the West. Reyna was also named East Conference Player of the Year for the U-16/17 level.
- Five players won Academy national championships last season- forward Andres Jasson, Reyna and Scally with New York City FC at the U-18/19 level, plus Daniel Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez with Seattle Sounders FC at the U-16/17 level.
- The U-17 MNT returns to Lakewood Ranch for its third straight training camp. The team held a January camp in Florida and hosted the 2018 Nike International Friendlies at the same venue in November and December.