The 10th Annual Nike International Friendlies kick off today when the United States meets Brazil this afternoon in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The U.S. won this event last year, defeating Brazil 3-1 along the way. 2010 champion Turkey and Portugal round out the field.
Eight of last year’s title winning side were named by coach Richie Williams to this year’s 20 man squad, including Rubio Rubin, recently honored as the 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.
In addition to Rubio, talent scouts and fans on the look out for the next big thing in American soccer, will be anxious to have a look at Emerson Hyndman. If that last name rings a bell, you may be thinking of Hyndman’s grandfather, Schellas Hyndman, coach of FC Dallas of MLS. The younger Hyndman is a member of the Fulham Academy, playing for the American friendly London club’s U18 team.
Richie Williams took their reins of this age group at the start of the year, just a few months after being hired as the U18 coach. Williams is a former U.S. international with 20 senior caps to his name, and he played for New York MetroStars and DC United in his MLS career. William also served as an assistant coach and interim head coach for the the New York Red Bulls.
The United States will play Turkey on Friday, November 30, before finishing the tournament Sunday, December 2, with a match against Portugal. The Nike Friendlies are run on a round robin basis, with each team playing the other teams once. There is no final, the team with the best record is crowned the champion. 2010, when Turkey were the winners, was the first year that a champion was declared.
2012 U.S. U-17 MNT Nike International Friendlies Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders; Woodinville, Wash.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls; South River, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6): Jordan Cano (FC Dallas; Richardson, Texas), Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Elijah Martin (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Junior Flores (McLean Youth Soccer; Manassas Park, Va.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham FC; Canton, Texas), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana Fire Academy; Carmel, Ind.), Rolando Muñoz (LA Galaxy; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (5): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Lake Worth, Fla.), Rubio Rubin (Westside Metros; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)