With the 2023 World Cup in Indonesia less than three months off, United States U-17 MNT head coach Gonzalo Segares has named a 20-player roster which will compete in the Václav Ježek Cup in the Czech Republic in the coming days.
The groups for the final tournament, which begins on November 10, will be set in the draw taking place on September 15 in Zürich. With only five UEFA representatives amongst the 24 teams, none of the Americans’ opponents in the coming days – Ukraine, Switzerland and the Czech Republic – are potential foes in Indonesia.
The 20-man roster selected by Segares only includes three based in Europe; German-based defenders Noahkai Banks and Aiden Harangi, along with midfielder Pedro Soma, who plays for the youth team of Spanish third-tier club UE Cornellà.
Of the remaining players, 16 are in MLS-associated academies, and one, forward Bryce Jamison is in the first-team of Orange County SC, which competes in the US second-level USL.
Compared to the squad that finished runners-up in February’s CONCACAF U-17 Championship, there are 12 holdovers on the current list of players. Notably, Liverpool youth player Keyrol Figueroa, who scored seven in that tournament and is also eligible to play for England and Honduras, will not take part in the upcoming games in the Czech Republic.
However, many of the most important pieces of that team are still present, including the trio of Micah Burton, Taha Habroune and Cruz Media, who combined for nine goals in February.
Soma, who played in all but one of the Americans’ games in the CONCACAF Championship, captaining twice and scoring their only goal in the final, looks to be a leading figure in the team going forward.
The roster includes seven players who are looking to make their national team debuts at this level, notably Augsburg defender Banks and New England forward Nimfasha Berchimas, who at 15 years old, is the youngest player on the squad.
The team is training and will play the tournament in the city of Hradec Králové, situated approximately 60 miles east of Prague. They will first take on Ukraine on Wednesday, before facing the Swiss two days later, and closing the tournament against the hosts on Sunday.
The final World Cup tournament in November was originally set to take place in Peru, after originally being selected to host the canceled 2021 edition. However, the country withdrew as hosts in April due to issues with their infrastructure.
Hosting duties were eventually transferred to Indonesia, seemingly as a consolation for having been stripped as hosts for this summer’s U-20 World Cup as a result of their protestations against the presence of the Israeli team, who finished third in that tournament.
U-17 MNT ROSTER (CLUB; HOMETOWN) – VÁCLAV JEŽEK CUP
GOALKEEPERS (2): Adam Beaudry (Colorado Rapids; Castle Pines, Colorado), Zackory Campagnolo (Colorado Rapids; Orlando, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Noahkai Banks (Augsburg/GER; Dietmannsried, Germany), Tyler Hall (Inter Miami CF; Miramar, Fla.), Aiden Harangi (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Zwingenberg, Germany), Stuart Hawkins (Seattle Sounders FC; Fox Island, Wash.), Peyton Miller (New England Revolution; Unionville, Conn.), Oscar Verhoeven (San Jose Earthquakes; Pleasant Hill, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Matthew Evans (LAFC; Simi Valley, Calif.), Taha Habroune (Columbus Crew; Columbus, Ohio), Cruz Medina (San Jose Earthquakes; San Francisco, Calif.), Edwyn Mendoza (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Paulo Rudisill (LA Galaxy; Irvine, Calif.), Pedro Soma (UE Cornella/ESP; Coconut Creek, Fla.)
FORWARDS (6): Nimfasha Berchimas (Charlotte FC; High Point, N.C.), Micah Burton (Austin FC; Mounds View, Minn.), Brian Romero (Charlotte FC; Concord, N.C.), Bryce Jamison (Orange County SC; Lake Forest, Calif.), Ruben Ramos Jr. (LA Galaxy; La Puente, Calif.), David Vasquez (Philadelphia Union; Los Angeles, Calif.)