As featured on US Futblog
Richie Williams and the US U-17 Men’s National Team journeyed to Montaigu, France for the 40th Mondial Minimes Cup recently and competed in four matches to earn 5th place and a win over CONCACAF neighbors Mexico.
Mondial Minimes is a 12-team tournament that features four groups of three teams each. Here is how the groups were broken down:
Group A – France, Cameroon and Mexico
Group B – United Arab Emirates, Portugal, United States
Group C – England, Morocco, Japan
Group D – China, Ivory Coast, Russia.
US head coach, Richie Williams, led the team into a competitive match for the first time since taking over the job from Wilmer Cabrera in early January.
The US opened group play with a win against UAE 4-0, on goals from Ahinga Selemani-‘23, Tyler Turner-’50, Wesley Wade-’71 and Bradford Jamieson closed out the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The second game for the US saw the yanks lose to Portugal 1-0 which earned them second place in Group B. Portugal will play Russia in the final and has always had a tradition of strong youth teams going back to the golden generation with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa and typically field strong youth national teams.
As runners up, the US faced Japan who finished second in Group C for the chance to compete in the fifth place match while the other runners up, Mexico (Group A) and China (Group D), also competed for a spot in the fifth place match. The group leaders played in a semifinal and final to determine the tournament winner on April 9th.
Against Japan, the US were even at the end of regulation with a goal from Bradford Jamieson who notched his second of the tournament and eventually advanced 4-3 on penalties.
The US defeated Mexico 1-0 on a goal from Wesley Wade to claim top spot of the second place bracket and fifth place overall in the 2012 Mondial Minimes Cup.
There are some great positives to take away from this tournament, namely that Richie Williams gets time in a competitive international tournament as head coach but also consistent performances against top nations in the world. Finishing fifth in a tournament that included England, Portugal, France and Russia, with Japan the Ivory Coast and Mexico, while losing only one game, is a good tournament. Granted, the US didn’t play all those squads, but the games they did play weren’t exactly easy.
Jurgen Klinsmann has preached at the senior level, that games against the top nations in the world, is how you determine progress and this is a top tournament in the world for youth national teams. Another important aspect of these types of tournaments, is that a lot of scouting happens from top European clubs when some of the bigger nations come together in this manner. It will be interesting to see who was there scouting and who will be the next young American signing in Europe as a result.
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Mondial Minimes Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders Academy; Woodinville, Wash.), Evan Louro (New York Red Bulls Academy; South River, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Adonis Amaya (Chivas USA Academy; Westminster, Calif.), Elijah Martin (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Cobb FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Kevin Politz (New York Red Bulls Academy; Morganville, N.J.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Tyler Turner (South Central Premier; West Haven, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Junior Flores (McLean Youth Soccer; Manassas Park, Va.), Angel Heredia (San Jose Earthquakes Academy; San Jose, Calif.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana United; Carmel, Ind.) Rubio Rubin (Westside Metros; Beaverton, Ore.)
FORWARDS (4): Bradford Jamieson (Chivas USA Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.), DeAndre Robinson (Concorde Fire; Atlanta, Ga.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Wesley Wade (New York Red Bulls Academy; South Orange, N.J.)