Athletico Athletic Trainers Tyler Harris and Barrett Jones recently traveled with the U-17 Men’s National Team (MNT) to the World Cup Qualifying CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which took place in Panama City, Panama.
The tournament took place from April 20th – May 7th, with the U-17 team starting in a tough opening group alongside Jamaica, Mexico and El Salvador. The team was up for the challenge, as they quickly beat Jamaica in the opening match with a score of 5-0. This set up a crucial second game against the U.S. team’s rival – Mexico. It was a hard fought match with plenty of goals, but the U.S. came out on top with a final goal that sealed the victory 4-3. In the last group game, the team grinded out a 1-0 win over El Salvador.
After winning the group, the U-17 MNT was re-seeded into a group along with two second place teams from the other groups – Honduras and Cuba. The team played Honduras first and won 3-0, and followed it up with another win against Cuba 6-2. These wins earned the U-17 team qualification to the World Cup in India this October, as well as set up a rematch against Mexico in the final. The team played well in the rematch, with the game ending in a 1-1 tie. Both teams went straight into the penalty shoot-out to decide the winner, and unfortunately Mexico came out on top with a 5-4 score.
Traveling with the U-17 MNT to this World Cup Qualifying tournament as an Athletic Trainer was an amazing experience, as I got to spend time working with an incredible coaching staff and a great group of young players that will be around for years to come. The team will continue to improve over the summer with a few international camps in Argentina and the Czech Republic before heading to the World Cup in India, where the U-17 MNT will work to become the first men’s U.S. national team to win a World Cup Championship.
Click here to read about other trips Athletico has taken with U.S. Soccer!