U.S. Crash Out of the U-17 World Cup
U.S. Crash Out of the U-17 World Cup avatar

Another day, another crushing disappointment for the United States men’s soccer program. Tonight in Chile it was the turn of the U17 side as a 1-0 U.S. lead became a 4-1 loss to the home nation eliminating the U.S. from the U17 World Cup in group play, sending the youngsters home with a record of two losses and one draw.

The U.S. took an early lead. (Getty Images)

The U.S. took an early lead. (Getty Images)

It is yet another failure for a program that appears to be in some sort of an intergenerational free fall, with this U17 team joining the the senior side and the U23 team in failing to meet expectations, expectations that may have to be adjusted going forward given this series of dreadful results.

The Young Yanks came into tonight’s match needing a win over the home team to keep hopes of advancing alive, and early on the visitors acquitted themselves well.

The Americans took the lead 10 minutes in with a tenacious Brandon Vasquez finishing well from a good Luca de la Torre set up after a sustained period of U.S. pressure.

But after blowing a 2-0 lead against Croatia and settling for a 2-2 tie, the U.S. were again unable to handle prosperity.

Chile were just too strong for the U.S. (Getty Images)

Chile were just too strong for the U.S. (Getty Images)

When it comes to evaluating youth teams it is always wise not to get too carried away with results, while remembering that development is the primary goal, but under Williams this age group failed to reach the 2013 World Cup and tonight has gone out without a win in the group stage.

This was a highly touted group of players led by Christian Pulisic, Haji Wright, Joe Gallardo and Danny Barbir. Williams mystified observers when he left the well regarded West Brom prospect Barbir on the bench in the opener versus defending World U17 Champions Nigeria in favor of late arrival Auston Trusty.

Trusty had a nightmare against the Super Eagles, ending his night early with a red card as Nigeria crushed the Yanks to a far greater degree than the scoreline would suggest.

The Americans caught a bad break on Chile’s equalizer when a deflection beat Will Pulisic in the 20th minute. The most disappointing thing about that goal though was that it had seemed inevitable, with Chile earning the lion’s share of chances after the U.S went ahead.

The Chile attack was just too strong for the U.S. (Getty Images)

The Chile attack was just too strong for the U.S. (Getty Images)

As in the Croatia match the Americans ceded possession after taking the lead, and once again the U.S. paid the price. In a rare misstep, Will Pulisic should have held onto the through ball that led to the 52nd minute goal, but the referee missed what looked like a clear hand ball from the goalscorer.

Trailing 2-1 Williams rolled the dice and paid the price conceding two late goals to end this U17 World Cup in dispiriting fashion.

Seen in isolation this tournament would go down as a disappointment, but given the totality of failure in the U.S. MNT program beginning with the Gold Cup this summer and continuing to this result, it will unfortunately be seen in a much harsher light.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
CHI 1 3 4

USA – Brandon Vazquez (Luca de la Torre) 10th minute
CHI – Marcelo Allende 20
CHI – Gabriel Mazuela ( Yerko Leiva) 52
CHI – Gonzalo Jara 86
CHI – Camillo Moya 93

USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 18-Tyler Adams, 15-Danny Barbir (9-Joe Gallardo, 61), 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson (7-Haji Wright, 76); 6-Eric Calvillo, 8-Luca de la Torre (11-Josh Perez, 69), 14-Tanner Dieterich; 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 19-Brandon Vazquez, 10-Christian Pulisic
Subs Not Used : 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Auston Trusty, 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Alexis Velela, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre da Silva, 21-Eric Lopez
Head Coach: Richie Williams

CHI: 21-Zacarias Lopez; 2-Simon Ramirez, 3-Fabian Monilla, 4-Manuel Reyes (14-Luciano Diaz, 46), 6-Ignacio Saavedra (5-Diego Gonzalez, 71), 8-Yerko Leiva, 9-Gabreil Mazuela, 10-Marcelo Allende (capt.), 13-Camilo Moya, 15-Rene Melendez, 16-Brian Leiva (7-Gonzalo Jara, 67)
Subs Not Used: 1-Lusi Ureta, 11-Mathisa Pinto, 12-Ignacio Azua, 17-Diego Soto, 18-Walter Ponce,19-Luis Salas, 20-Juan Jose Soriano
Head Coach: Miguel Ponce

Stats Summary: USA / CHI
Shots: 9 / 19
Shots on Goal: 5 / 8
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 4
Offside: 0 / 1
Fouls: 13 / 17

Misconduct Summary:
CHI – Fabian Monilla (caution) 33rd minute
CHI – Rene Melendez (caution) 34
USA – Brandon Vazquez (caution) 54
USA – Joe Gallardo (caution) 74

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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3 Responses to U.S. Crash Out of the U-17 World Cup
U.S. Crash Out of the U-17 World Cup avatar

  1. Rajai Almubaslat says:

    I watched the game vs Chili and I can tell you this: There are a lot better U17 players in the United States than the current US U17 MNT. I have no idea who scouted these players or if they are simply carry-over players who are automatically selected from previous Youth National teams. An example (and yes I am a bit biased) – Faisal Almubaslat is better than every single player on the national team. He played and shined against the best players in the German U17 Bundesliga last year and is doing the same for his U18 NC Fusion Academy team. Top D1 College coaches and scouts are everywhere and Faisal’s phone is ringing off the hook, but the US Soccer Federation Scoutsare no where to be seen! This MUST be an going process – discovering new talent that is – and when the process stops, these are the kinds of dismal results you can expect from your “Pre-Selected” players who take their spot on the national team for granted. Representing the national team especially in international competitions should be an honor and a privilege that every players must earn. Watching our U17 MNT players lose games like it’s no big deal is absoultely unacceptable and new players need to be brought on board so every player fights to earn his spot on the team going forward. The same goes for all US national teams.

    Rajai Almubaslat

  2. Mike Anderson says:

    For the past few weeks the talk about Klinsmann and everything wrong with American soccer has been overwhelming. Everybody seems to be missing the point.

    Although there are a number of factors influencing the issue, I believe there is one fundamental problem at the core – we’re losing the best athletes because the culture is wrong. And nobody seems to see it.

    The extraordinary athlete is not sticking with soccer at a young age. There’s your problem.

    To understand this, we can’t look at our own kids. We’re all soccer guys and our own kids are often reasonably engaged in the game. What I’m suggesting is that we have to look at the kids in our community – you know the ones, the kids that are crazy good at everything. They all play soccer at some point, but they aren’t sticking with it as their main sport – and for good reason.

    I see a some key issues – mostly related.

    First and probably most important, parents (families) don’t see the ‘prize’. Simple as that.

    I was a pretty good multi-sport athlete (soccer was my main sport) in my day and had a lot of success. Yet I know as well as anyone there were guys that were extraordinary athletes – well beyond whatever level I could ever achieve with my body and my athleticism. There are just guys like that. And they naturally excel in every sport. It becomes evident what these boys have and it doesn’t take long for parents of these boys to start thinking about the prize. They see the prize in every sport except boys soccer. That’s because a) there isn’t much of one, and b) the prize these parents seek isn’t the same prize US soccer wants them to have. But what commitment will soccer demand and where is it going to take them?

    What is the prize? College scholarship. Free ride. An education. Period. What parent doesn’t want their kid to get a college education and better yet a free one? The family goal becomes supporting athletic endeavors that might lead to the prize.

    Soccer offers a different prize. In soccer the prize is signing a professional contract with some academy. Parents aren’t buying it. And what about the practical matter of that education? Nothing could be riskier, or further from a parent’s radar than the prize of a pro contract. A pro contract seems completely unrealistic. The Messi effect – the hope of signing the next Messi into an academy somewhere at age 11. Yet we’ve all been told one in a million play pro sports. Boy parents of super athletes know what they have and they are looking for the scholarship as their ultimate goal; with realism discouraging consideration of anything beyond that.

    Furthermore, if a parent somehow determines a soccer scholarship is the target – it’s crummy prize. Some of you on the east or west coasts might not understand this, but for much of the country Title IX killed men’s soccer programs and the best offers out there are places like Northwestern Oklahoma Baptist Junior College for the Blind. All you have to do is look at the newspaper each year on National Signing Day – there aren’t many boys soccer scholarships. Oh, there are hundreds of girls scholarships thanks to Title IX. According to US Soccer the boys should be going another direction anyway, right? The World Cup stage demands it, right? Realistically, how many families are going to seek that in the US? How many Odell Beckhams does soccer miss this way?

    Secondly – year-round sport. This is a related and important issue. We all know soccer is a year-round sport, requiring year-round development. It has to be. At an early age, particularly in the pay-to-play club systems boys are encouraged to drop other sports and participate in soccer full time. Meanwhile, the super athlete (amazing football player, best player on his basketball team, and superior baseball player or track man) is electing to drop the single sport requiring a super-commitment, and electing to do multiple sports that each offer a more promising future as a student-athlete.

    Finally (and also related), we’ve taken the game out of the environment our culture loves the most – the schools. School soccer is minimized to the point the best players aren’t even allowed to play due to club commitments. The result? The community can’t get as fired up about soccer. In the end, it lowers the interest in the community, including the next generation of super athlete kids. (My kid – a good club soccer player – is currently playing football for his school and as a cultural experience with his schoolmates it is light years ahead of his club soccer experience, despite the quality of his soccer club. Looking forward to school soccer next trimester).

    I can tell you as a parent, even as a soccer guy if my kid were the best athlete in my city (Dallas, TX – which has been soccer mad for forty years), and if our family decided sports would be an important part of my son’s future, I wouldn’t encourage him to pursue the path of a sport without much promise of a major college scholarship. But if my kid were the best athlete in the city he’d be exactly the kid you’d want.

    Not only is this about individual extraordinary athletes, but getting more overall quality in the system. Then competition is better, training is better, credibility increases, next generation coaching is better as these kids stay in the game – everything works.

    Until the game is somehow incorporated into the D1 college mix in a much bigger way, and to a point where there is enough quality for professional leagues to see the appeal of college players, I don’t see us getting the super athlete in this game in the US. It will all continue to break down when these kids are 9-10 years old.

    You have to step back and look at the culture to see what doesn’t work for soccer in the US. It’s obvious if you know where to look.

    Best regards,
    Mike Anderson

  3. Jakob Forest says:

    I agree with Rajai Almubaslat that there are quality players out there. I understand what Mike Anderson is trying to say as well. But I personally believe that Professional scouts and college coaches are not scouting the best. If you look at the D1 schools, all the kids that are being scouted can not properly pass a ball or shoot a ball. For men in D1 level play nothing but kick ball. I have attended D1 games in California and all the games are being played with long ball. Not only is this happening is D1, but also in D2, D3, and NAIA, Community colleges do not play long ball. At least the games I have attended. What is even more interesting is that women soccer play the ball on the ground and actually moves the ball. The way it supposed to be played. If you look at women college teams like Utah, CSUN, CAL, Stanford, and UCLA then compare them to the men, you will a lot more long ball from men, and the game will be more boring.
    On the other hand, Mike Anderson notes “we’re losing the best athletes because the culture is wrong. And nobody seems to see it.The extraordinary athlete is not sticking with soccer at a young age. There’s your problem.” I personally believe that super soccer athlete are not sticking to the sport because club soccer costs a lot of money. For fall, parents are charged approximately $300 to $400 for each season. Now since soccer is year round. That means that parents will end up paying approximately 1,600 for a year. Now imagine paying that until your child hits 18 years of age. For an upper class family is nothing, but for a middle class or even worse lower class is a nightmare. The kid ends up dropping out from the sport because the parents could only afford so much. Yes there are scholarships for those families who can not afford it, but realistically the ones getting recruited are the upper class. If you look at any D1,D2, and D3 college roster for men, all the students come from private high schools or public high school where the wealthy attended. You might say, well how is this a problem? Simple, since all these other super athlete who can not afford to attend college only have one option and that is to attend a community college. Not only are lower class or middle class being affected, but also the some of the upper class who want to pursue their soccer dream.
    Another issue, is that here in he United States, scouts and college coaches scout players based on height so they can play kick ball. Whatever happen to the 5’5” guy who is a soccer star? Oh wait, he got cut from the team because of his height and NOT his SKILLS. I have been coaching soccer for years and have not happen to see a 5’5” or shorter player on the college roster in D1. Why? Well because here in the U.S we want to simply play the ball in the air. If you look at D2 schools such as SF State, CSULA, and CSU Stanislaus all their players come from lower and middle class communities. Funny thing is that they are all ranked in the Nation and beat top D1 schools even though they have the 5’5”, 5’6”, and 5’7” men. If you watch any of these games, you will feel like you are watching a professional match.
    In central California and in the high school level colleges ignored high schools such as Gilroy High School, Alisal High School, and Watonsonville High School because those kids are minorities and probably will not have the money to play at the college level. But all the players end up at a community college and end up at colleges such as UCLA, Stanford, Santa Clara, and CAL. Or even better those athletes from those schools end up in other countries playing for premiere professional teams. Its funny how these teams play in the hardest league in the central California, and are always nationally ranked. Either team always ends up winning the championship! But they are not recruited because of their height so they instead recruit players from private high schools such as Bellerinmane in San Jose, CA, St Francis in Mountain View and Mitty in San Jose.
    The only way to correct this problem is to correct how college coaches in the U.S recruit players. They have to recruited the right players based on skills and not height. Also, you have to start with players who might not have the most money, but has the strive to be the best player. Those are the ones who are unique and should be representing our country.

    Jakob Forrest
    USSF License C

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