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Fuel Soccer Talk: Women’s World Cup roster loaded with ODP talent; U-17 boys reach World Cup – again; Revolution dismiss GM

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US Youth Soccer ODP well-represented on USWNT World Cup roster

US Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) will be well represented at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Of the 23 players named to the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) roster by head coach Jill Ellis, 21 are alumni of US Youth Soccer ODP. The USWNT will be seeking their second consecutive title and fourth overall. They have been drawn into Group F with Thailand, Chile, and Sweden and open up the tournament against Thailand on June 13. The USWNT faces Chile on June 16 and they’ll wrap up group play against Sweden on June 20.

Among the 21 former US Youth Soccer ODP players are Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe who are all set to appear in their third Women’s World Cup. Carli Lloyd, who was a member of New Jersey ODP, is set to appear in her fourth Women’s World Cup.

Additionally, numerous players on the USWNT roster have competed at the US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional which annually attracts more than 100 college coaches and numerous U.S. Soccer scouts. These players include: Morgan Brian, Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Ali Krieger, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Emily Sonnett.

US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program. With programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, it is available to any player. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim a majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.

For more information on US Youth Soccer ODP visit usyouthsoccer.org/olympic-development-program. 

What are some of the advantages of participating in US Youth Soccer ODP?  

USA qualifies for record 17th FIFA U-17 World Cup

BRADENTON, Fla. —The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team utilized second half goals from Gianluca Busio, Gio Reyna and Ricardo Pepi to defeat Panama 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship. With the victory, the USA clinched qualification to a record 17th FIFA U-17 World Cup and advanced to the semifinals of the confederation championship, where they will face Canada on Tuesday, May 14 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Playing against a Panama side content to sit inside its own half and look for counterattacks, the USA carried 76 percent of first-half possession, but found it difficult to come up with many scoring opportunities against the Central American side’s defensive posture.

The early afternoon heat and humidity in Bradenton also made things challenging, though the USA did create one quality chance in the ninth minute when captain Gio Reyna cut inside from the left to rocket a right-footed effort that Panama goalkeeper Saul Espinoza put it out for a corner kick.

Things opened up on the other side of halftime as Raphael Wicky’s side continued to push for the opening goal. In the 50th minute, Griffin Yow sprung free down the right and centered a cross that deflected off Panama’s Jesus Gil to Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez. He passed back for Busio, but his one-time hit from close range went over the bar.

Busio made things right four minutes later. A nice build-up from Daniel Leyva led to Ocampo-Chavez slotting the attacker through on goal, dinking it past Panama defender Edgardo Espinosa before tucking his effort inside the left post to give the USA the 1-0 lead in the 54th minute.

Continuing to pour on the pressure, Ocampo-Chavez was upended in the box by Espinosa in the 59th minute, forcing referee Daneion Parchment to point to the penalty spot. Reyna stepped up and coolly slotted his take to the lower right corner to give the USA a 2-0 lead on the hour mark.

Having replaced Reyna in the 69th minute, Ricardo Pepi got his name on the scoresheet six minutes later as a three-pass sequence finished with Leyva slotting him through on goal, before the forward tucked his effort to the far post to give the USA an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 75th minute.

The USA closed out the match with its third-straight clean sheet, holding its opponents scoreless for the last 306 minutes.

Why doesn’t this great success on the youth level mature to the top of the table for U.S. soccer? 

Changes at the top: Revolution part ways with GM Mike Burns

The New England Revolution announced Monday evening that Mike Burns has been dismissed as general manager, effective immediately. The move comes on the heels of the team’s firing of second-year head coach Brad Friedel last week and brings an end to Burns’ 14-year tenure in the Revs front office, with the last seven coming as GM.

“As an original Revolution player and throughout his time with the club’s front office, Michael has always been a terrific ambassador for the club,” said Revolution president Brian Bilello in a team statement. “His impact on the team and organization has been felt in many ways and we are grateful for his commitment and service to the New England Revolution.”

Shortly after assuming the general manager role in November 2011, Burns helped guide the Revs from a five-win season that year to three straight MLS Cup Playoffs berths from 2013-15, including a trip to MLS Cup in 2014. The Revs also reached the U.S. Open Cup final in 2016. However, the Revs’ fortunes have taken a downturn in recent years, missing the playoffs in three straight seasons and starting the 2019 season with a 3-8-2 record that left them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

With regard to next steps for the club, Bilello said, “In light of recent results and the team’s on-field direction over the last few seasons, we felt it was time to take the soccer side of the organization in a different direction. We expect to make an announcement related to leadership of the soccer organization in the coming days.”

Who should New England hire to move the club forward?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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