24 January 2012
The US U-17 Men’s National Team’s first foreign competition of the year ended with a 4-0 defeat to the Czech Republic Friday. This loss puts the US toward the bottom of the table in this two group competition and sees Wilmer Cabrera’s last tournament as head coach end in disappointment.
The two group tournament consisted of 8 teams- France, Czech Republic, host nation Turkey, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the US and Ukraine. The two winners of Group A and Group B go on to play in the final. While, the second place teams play for third place.
The US started off the tournament with a 2-1 defeat to Turkey, the host nation, with a lone goal from DeAndre Robinson six minutes into the second half.
A 3-2 win against Denmark sent the US temporarily to second place in the group A table, as goals came from Conor Donovan, Wesley Wade, and DeAndre Robinson, who notched his second of the tournament. However, their final performance insures a finish second to last in the overall standings and finalizes a disappointing tournament for the youngsters.
Wilmer Cabrera may be leaving on a sour note but his tenure as head coach of the U-17s was anything but a failure. Cabrera’s squads will always be remembered as competitive and partially responsible for identifying many of the youth currently progressing through the US National Team set-up. Players like Jack McInerney, Juan Agudelo, Luis Gil, Perry Kitchen and Stefan Jerome to name a few.
The young U-17 squad will experience a sharp learning curve with the institution of new coach, Richie Williams, who will look to implement a new system following Klinsmann's ideology. It will be interesting to see what new players will emerge as the 4-3-3 formation is ingrained at US Soccer’s most critical National Team level, the U-17s.