REPPIN’ THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2006 are age-eligible for the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Segares called up 17 players born in 2006, four born in 2007 and one born in 2008 – Charlotte FC forward Nimfanda Berchimas. The 15-year-old forward is the USA’s youngest player at the U-17 World Cup since 14-year-old Freddy Adu at Finland 2003.
The roster features players from 17 clubs, including 10 from Major League Soccer. Two players each come from the Colorado Rapids, Inter Miami CF and the San Jose Earthquakes. Four are based abroad in Germany (two), England and Spain.
SENIOR SQUAD LAUNCHPAD
A number of stars for the senior USMNT have launched their international careers at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and since the USA failed to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the last three cycles have been markedly successful in progressing players to the senior USMNT. Twenty players from the previous three cycles have made their full team debuts, with 10 players from the USA’s 2022 FIFA World Cup roster having represented the US at a U-17 World Cup: Kellyn Acosta (2011 U-17 WC), Tyler Adams (2015), Luca de la Torre (2015), Sergiño Dest (2017) , Christian Pulisic (2015), Gio Reyna (2019), Josh Sargent (2017), Joe Scally (2019), Haji Wright (2015) and Tim Weah (2017).
In total, 59 players named to a U-17 World Cup roster have been capped by the senior USMNT, while 26 have been called to a senior World Cup. The competition has long been a launchpad for future USMNT stars. Landon Donovan won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player at New Zealand 1999 as he helped the US finish fourth alongside DaMarcus Beasley and current US Soccer Vice President of Sporting Oguchi Onyewu. Future 100-cap club members Claudio Reyna and Tim Howard represented the US at Scotland 1989 and Ecuador 1995, respectively.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP WITH MLS NEXT PRO
Several members of the squad played key roles for their clubs during the recently completed second season of MLS Next Pro as nine players logged more than 1,100 minutes on the year. Forward Micah Burton helped Austin FC II lift the championship trophy, while midfielder Taha Habroune parlayed his standout performance in World Cup qualifying into a key role with runner-up Columbus Crew 2. Goalkeeper Adam Beaudry was one of four finalists for the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award. In total, seven players made their pro debuts this season in the league designed to bridge the gap from the academy ranks to first-division Major League Soccer.
HOW WE GOT HERE
The USA clinched its record 18th FIFA U-17 World Cup berth with a runner-up finish at the 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship. All 20 members of the squad played significant minutes in Guatemala as the red, white and blue reached its third-straight Concacaf final with a strong 2-0 victory vs. Canada in the semis. Facing Mexico in the championship match, the USA put up a spirited effort but fell 3-1.
The US punched its World Cup ticket with a wild back-and-forth 5-3 victory in the quarterfinals against host Guatemala before a raucous crowd in Guatemala City. Forward Keyrol Figueroa, who finished second at the tournament with seven goals, and midfielder Cruz Medina were named to the competition’s Best XI.
Thirteen players from the team’s Concacaf U-17 Championship squad return for the World Cup: Adam Beaudry, Burton, Duran Ferree, Figueroa, Tyler Hall, Aiden Harangi, Taha Habroune, Stuart Hawkins, Medina, Paulo Rudisill, Pedro Soma, David Vazquez and Oscar Verhoeven.
ROAD TO INDONESIA
The US has faced 17 different nations since kicking off the cycle during the Youth National Teams’ return to programming in November 2021, compiling an 11-8-0 record. All but one player has been capped at the U-17 level, led by Cruz Medina and Paulo Rudisill’s 18 appearances. After leading the US in goals in World Cup qualifying, Keyrol Figueroa is the team’s top scorer with eight goals this cycle, while Medina has added six.
Three players have appeared in nine of the 11 training camps since the cycle began: Micah Burton, Tyler Hall and Medina.
The 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup features 24 countries divided into six groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group, as well as the four best third-place teams advance to the Round of 16. From there, the tournament will feature a knockout bracket to the tournament final.
All three of the USA’s group stage games will be played at the 82,000-seat Jakarta International Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city and the largest city in Southeast Asia. Bandung, Surabaya and Surakarta will also serve as host cities for the competition, all located on Indonesia’s largest and most populated island, Java.
U-17 WC HISTORY
The USA has qualified for a record 18 of 19 FIFA U-17 World Cups all-time and has reached the knockout stage at nine of 17 previous tournaments. Its best finish came at the 1999 tournament, a fourth-place showing in New Zealand led by a number of future USMNT stalwarts. Landon Donovan launched his legendary international career by winning the Golden Ball as the competition’s best player while future four-time senior World Cup selection DaMarcus Beasley also represented the US After a 3-2 victory vs. Mexico in the quarters, the USA fell in penalties to Australia in the semifinals and lost 2-0 to Ghana in the third-place match.
The red, white and blue’s last knockout stage run came at the 2017 tournament, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion England, 4-1. The US opened the competition with a 3-0 win against host India in front of more than 46,000 fans. In the Round of 16 against Paraguay, Tim Weah netted a hat trick, becoming the first US player to accomplish the feat in the knockout stage of a men’s World Cup.
LAST TIME OUT
At the 2019 World Cup in Brazil, the US did not advance to the knockout stage after falling to Senegal, drawing Japan and losing to the Netherlands. Gianluca Busio tied the USA’s record for fastest goal at the tournament with a third-minute tally vs. Senegal.
Just three short years after the tournament, Gio Reyna and Jose Scally made the USMNT roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup while George Bello, Gianluca Busio and Ricardo Pepi all also appeared in the official competition for the full team.
USA VS. REPUBLIC OF KOREA
- Sunday marks the USA’s third meeting with Korea Republic at the U-17 World Cup, splitting the series 1-1-0.
- At Finland 2003, Freddy Adu netted a hat trick to help boost the USA to a 6-1 group stage victory in its tournament opener.
- The nations also clashed at the second FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1987, a 4-2 victory for the Taeguk Warriors that eliminated the USA from knockout stage contention.
- Korea Republic is making its seventh appearance all-time at the U-17 World Cup. It’s the first time the nation has qualified for back-to-back tournaments since 2007-2009. After only two appearances in the first 11 editions of the competition, the Reds have reached five of the last eight.
- At the 2019 tournament, Korea Republic finished second in Group C behind group winner France and ahead of Chile and Haiti. The Asian nation topped Angola 1-0 in the Round of 16 before falling 1-0 to Mexico in the quarterfinals.
- Making the quarterfinals matched the Asian nation’s best finish at the tournament, also getting to the final eight at Nigeria 2009 and in its debut at Canada 1987. Current Tottenham Hotspur star forward Son Heung-min represented Korea at the 2009 tournament.
- Two players have been capped once from Korea’s 2019 U-17 World Cup squad, including Minnesota United forward Jeong Sang-bin.
- The USA is 6-7-2 all-time vs. Asian Football Confederation competition at the U-17 World Cup.
- All 21 players on the Korea roster are based domestically with 13 different teams, led by four coming from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, the first division K League 1’s most successful club. Fourteen are from clubs currently in K League 1.
- The roster features 20 players born in 2006 and just one born in 2007 – forward Han Seok-jin.
- Head coach Byun Sung-hwan has led Korea Republic since January 2022. He played professionally for 12 years across his native Korea and Australia.
KOREA REPUBLIC – 2023 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP ROSTER (CLUB)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Seongmin Hong (FC Pohang Steelers), 1-Gyungjun Lee (Suwon Samsung Bluewings FC), 21-Gyujeong Woo (Daejeon Hana Citizen FC)
DEFENDERS (7): 12-Seongho Bae (Daejeon Hana Citizen FC), 4-Minwoo Kang (Ulsan Hyundai FC), 20-Yungeon Kim (FC Seoul), 3-Changwoo Lee (Boin High School), 2-Suro Lee (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC) , 15-Jeonhyeok Seo (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC), 5-Minjun You (Seongnam FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 8-Inwoo Back (Yongin City FC), 6-Jehoon Cha (Chunggyung High School), 10-Taeho Jin (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC), 14-Hyunmin Kim (Youngdeungpo High School), 19-Seongju Kim (Suwon Samsung Bluewings FC ), 16-Hyunsub Lim (Suwon Samsung Bluewings FC), 11-Minhyeok Yang (Gangwon FC), 7-Doyong Yoon (Daejeon Hana Citizen FC)
FORWARDS (3): 13-Gaon Baek (Boin High School), 17-Seokjin Han (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC), 9-Myeongjun Kim (FC Pohang Steelers)
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
- Korea Republic finished runner-up at the 2023 AFC U-17 Asian Cup to earn one of four World Cup berths at stake.
- The Taeguk Warriors finished second in the group stage, topping Qatar and Afghanistan but falling to group winner IR Iran.
- In the knockout stage, Korea topped Thailand 4-1 in the quarterfinals to clinch its ticket to Indonesia 2023.
- Korea Republic defeated Uzbekistan 1-0 in the semis to reach the U-17 Asian Cup Final for the fifth time before falling 3-0 to Japan.
- Myeongjun Kim and Yun Dopyoung led the team in scoring with four goals each. Kim is a part of Korea’s World Cup roster.
- Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2006 are age-eligible for this tournament.
- Single yellow cards will be issued after the quarterfinal round.
- Two yellow cards received during two different matches will result in suspension for the following match.
- If a player is sent off as a result of a direct or indirect red card, he will be suspended for the following match.
- Should teams be tied on points at the end of the group stage, the tie-breakers are as follows:
- Goal difference in all group matches
- Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
- If two or more teams are still tied on the basis of the first three criteria, the ranking will be determined as follows:
- Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned
- Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned
- Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned
- Highest team conduct score relating to yellow and red cards obtained (yellow card = -1 point, indirect red card = -3 points, direct red card = -4 points, yellow card and direct red card = -5 points)
- Drawing of lots
- Third-placed teams will be ranked as follows:
- Greatest number of points obtained in all group matches
- Goal difference in all group matches
- Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
- Highest team conduct score relating to yellow and red cards obtained
- Drawing of lots
- In the knockout stages, if a match is tied at the end of regulation, two fifteen-minute periods of extra time will be played. If the score is still tied, there will be a penalty-kick shootout.