U.S. Under-16 Boys’ National Team head coach Shaun Tsakiris has named a 20-player roster for the upcoming Torneo delle Nazioni in Gradisca d’Isonzo, Italy, that runs from April 19-May 2.
The U.S. has been drawn into Group A and opens tournament play against Italy on Tuesday, April 24. The team then plays Libya on Thursday, April 26 before concluding group play against Croatia on Friday, April 27.
“Any time you have the opportunity to face international competition, we look forward to it because this is the standard and the benchmark that we want to hold our players to,” Tsakiris said. “This will be a great test for our players. What I like about this tournament is that the teams we are facing are not only very good opponents, but they are also very different opponents, in their style, who they are and how they play. I’m excited to see how our players respond to different types of international talent.”
The tournament fields three additional four-team groups consisting of Czech Republic, England, Japan and United Arab Emirates in Group B, Mexico, Romania, Russia, and Slovenia in Group C, and Austria, Costa Rica, Norway and Portugal in Group D. Although all 16 teams will play in an additional two games after the group stage to determine final placement, only the group winners will advance to the semifinals on April 29 for a chance to play in the tournament final on May 1.
The USA is the defending champion of the tournament after winning the 14th edition of the Torneo delle Nazioni in 2017. Led by head coach Dave van den Bergh, the U-15 BNT advanced from its group after defeating co-hosts Slovenia 4-0 and Russia 2-1. In the semifinals, the squad took down Portugal 4-2 to set up a rematch in the final versus England, who they previously fell 3-2 against in the group stage. The second time around, the USA came out on top, with Giovanni Reyna, son of U.S. MNT legend Claudio Reyna, scoring the game-winner in the final minute.
The roster is comprised of a familiar group of players as 19 of the 20 participated in the U-16 BNT’s most recent domestic training camp in Carson, Calif. in March, while 12 of the 20 participated in the team’s first training camp of the 2018-19 player cycle in January, the 2018 Men’s Youth National Team Summit Camp. Goalkeeper Eliot Jones is the only player making his debut with the U-16 BNT during this tournament.
All 20 players on the roster are currently registered with a U.S. Soccer Development Academy club.
U.S. U-16 BNT SCHEDULE:
April 24: U-16 BNT vs. Italy; Gradisca, Italy (11:30 a.m. ET)
April 26: U-16 BNT vs. Libya; Cervignano, Italy (4:45 a.m. ET)
April 27: U-16 BNT vs. Croatia; Monfalcone, Italy (4:45 a.m. ET)
April 29 – Torneo Delle Nazioni Semifinals
May 1 – Torneo Delle Nazioni Final
Roster by Position:
DEFENDERS (7): Adrian Aguilar (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.) Israel Carrillo (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Eric Kinzner (Seattle Sounders; Tacoma, Wash.), Anthony Sorenson (Crew SC Academy Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Kobey Stoup (Atlanta United FC; Montgomery, Ala.), Casey Walls (San Jose Earthquakes; Mill Valley, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Javier Casas Jr. (Chicago Fire; Addison, Ill.), Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.), Jack McGlynn (BW Gottschee; Middle Village, N.Y.), Alex Monis (Chicago Fire; Naperville, Ill.), Edwin Villarreal (FC Dallas; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (6): Patrick Bohui (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Tyler Freeman (Sporting KC; Shawnee, Kan.), Selmir Miscic (Philadelphia Union; Royersford, Pa.), Dante Sealy (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Dantouma Toure (PDA; Trenton, N.J.), Dominic Vegaalban (Sacramento Republic; Rocklin, Calif.)