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U.S. under-17 men

Hackworth chooses 20 for CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

(Tuesday, April 24, 2007) -- Coach John Hackworth selected the 20 players for the United States under-17 men who will compete at the CONCACAF Under-17 Final Round Group B Qualifying Tournament which starts Saturday and runs to May 6 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Only one of the players chosen is not among the 40 in full-time residence in Bradenton, Fla. Defender Tommy Meyer, who was formerly in residence for two semesters, is the only player on the roster not currently training with Hackworth.

All of the players were born on or after January 1, 1990, with five born in 1991. Since September 2005, the under-17s have a 14-7-11 (.610) record, competing in six international tournaments in Argentina, England, Japan, Northern Ireland and on home soil, three times finishing in second place.

Three of the five nations from Group B will advance to the Under-17 Men's World Cup, which will take place August 18-September 19 in South Korea. Those three teams will join Haiti and Honduras, who qualified from Group A earlier this month, to make five representatives from CONCACAF, the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

After drawing a bye Saturday, the U.S. faces Trinidad & Tobago Monday, Canada May 2, Jamaica May 4 and Costa Rica May 6. All four matches will be held at National Stadium in Kingston.

The U.S. is the only country to qualify for all 11 previous under-17 world championships. It won the qualifying tournament in 1993 and 1992 when just one winner was crowned. Since the the final round of qualifying was split into two groups in 1999, the U.S. has won its group four times -- in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

"Heading down to Jamaica to try and qualify for the World Cup will be a difficult task for us to accomplish, and one we are definitely looking forward to," said Hackworth. "With a bye on the first day of the tournament, we will have to play four games in seven days, but we're confident that the 20 players we've selected will give us the best chance to get through to South Korea."

The U.S. will look to striker Ellis McLoughlin, the under-17s' most consistent goal scorer during the past two years, to lead the attack. The Seattle native leads the U.S. with 11 goals in 29 international appearances since he joined the program.

Hackworth has several options to join McLoughlin up top, including Bryan Dominguez and Abdusalam Ibrahim, who was drafted into Major League Soccer by FC Dallas in January. Two players who joined the residency camp in January -- Alex Nimo and Billy Schuler -- also are in the mix, as is Alex Dixon, who has also played midfield.

Two of the most experienced Americans in international competition, Jared Jeffrey and Daniel Wenzel will patrol the midfield. Jeffrey leads all players on the roster with 30 appearances and his composure and field awareness complement the hard-nosed tackling of Wenzel. On the wings, the U.S. has a complement of players including Greg Garza, Brendan King and Jesse Paredes, as well as Nick Millington and Dane Shea.

In back, Sheanon Williams' athletic ability provides the U.S. with coverage on the right flank, but he also frequently pushes forward into the attack. Mykell Bates, Howard Turk and Meyer are options for the central positions and also often take free kicks. Brandon Zimmerman will be on the left outside and also has the ability to get forward.

Josh Lambo and Zac MacMath take their battle to start in goal to the qualifying tournament.


United States roster for the CONCACAF Under-17 Final Round Qualifying Tournament:

Goalkeepers (2): Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wisc.), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.).

Defenders (5): Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Tommy Meyer (St. Louis, Howard Turk (Fairfax, Va.), Sheanon Williams (Boston), Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.).

Midfielders (9): Alex Dixon (Humble, Texas), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta), Greg Garza (Grapevine, Texas), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Nick Millington (Raleigh, N.C.), Jesse Paredes (Los Angeles), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.).

Forwards (4): Abdusalam Ibrahim (Richfield, Minn.), Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle), Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.), Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.).

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