Photo courtesy Sass&Frass Photography / Richmond Kickers
The 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup kicks off on Friday as the United States U17 Men’s National Team squares off with host nation India to begin its campaign (10:30 a.m. ET | Fox Sports 2). The United States will also face Colombia (Oct. 9 | 7:30 a.m. ET | Fox Sports 2) and Ghana (Oct. 12 | 10:30 a.m. ET | Fox Sports 2) in Group A of the tournament as it looks to advance to the knockout stages.
Among the 21 players named by Head Coach John Hackworth for the event are six that have previously competed in the USL. Here are five players to watch for as the tournament begins that could play a major role in the side’s success.
Photo courtesy Martin Bayzl / Toronto FC II
Akinola recorded two goals in 10 appearances for Toronto FC II in the 2016 USL regular season and is likely to be a key figure in the United States’ attack going into the tournament. Akinola led the CONCACAF U17 Championship in May with 20 total shots and finished second on the team to Premier Development League standout Josh Sargent with four goals. He also notched two assists at the tournament.
Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer
Carleton made four appearances in the 2016 USL season on loan with the Charleston Battery from Atlanta United FC, including coming on as a substitute in the side’s clash with Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs. A standout playmaker, the ATLUTD Homegrown signing notched his first professional assist for the Battery last season and recorded two goals and two assists at the CONCACAF U17 Championship in May.
Photo courtesy Brett Hansbauer / FC Cincinnati
The No. 10 selection in the 2017 USL 20 Under 20, Durkin has made 11 starts this season for the Richmond Kickers in his second stint with the club around his international duty with the U.S. U17s. A composed central midfielder, Durkin led all players in passes attempted (239) and completed (214) at the CONCACAF U17 Championship where he earned selection to the Tournament Best XI. He has also been strong for the Kickers in the USL regular season, averaging 52.6 passes per 90 minutes at an 81.6 percent completion rate, while winning 19 of 23 tackles and recording 17 interceptions.
Photo courtesy Rich Graessle / New York Red Bulls II
Goslin made his professional debut this season on loan with the Battery in their visit to the New York Red Bulls II on May 28, with the Atlanta United FC Homegrown signing putting in a positive performance in the center of midfield. The midfielder also had a solid 2017 CONCACAF U17 Championship, recording a passing accuracy rate of 87 percent on 103 passes, while notching six steals and five shots during the tournament.
Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer
Lindsey made two appearances for the Rangers in the 2016 USL regular season, including his first professional start against Real Monarchs SLC last August. A solid presence on the back line for the U.S. U17s, Lindsey recently signed a Homegrown Player contract with Sporting Kansas City. Lindsey had a stellar tournament at the CONCACAF U17 Championship where he earned Tournament Best XI Honors after leading the U.S. with 10 steals, and sat fifth in the tournament overall with 191 passes attempted and 175 completed for a 92 percent accuracy rate.