US National Team
The United States U-17 Men's National Team kicked off the 2012 Nike International Friendlies Wednesday night in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with an eight goal draw against South American power Brazil. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves product Ahinga Selemani seemingly scored the winning tally in the 81st minute, just 11 minutes after coming on as a second half substitute. However, Brazil got the equalizer three minutes later when Murilo headed Indio's free kick past U.S. goalkeeper Paul Christensen to cement the 4-4 result. CSA alum and Grove City native Ben Swanson went the full 90 minutes in Richie Williams' midfield.
The U.S. U-17s resume play in the series against Turkey on Friday.
While preparations were being made ahead of tonight's match between the Crew and Chivas USA, a message from U.S. Men's National Team coach Jürgen Klinsmann was found scrawled on the white board in the Crew coaches' office left following the US's 1-0 victory over Jamaica at Crew Stadium last week:
"Coach Robert & Crew Coaching Staff,
Thanks a lot for having us and we are looking forward to coming back again!
Good luck for the rest of the season!
YOU CAN MAKE IT!
Coach Jürgen & Martin Vasquez"
Robert Warzycha was happy to have the support from Klinsmann as the Crew vies for a playoff spot.
"It shows we have classy National Team coaches," Warzycha said. "They obviously care about MLS and about us doing the right things."
The U.S. Men's National Team returned from Jamaica to hold a public training session at Crew Stadium. Over 3000 fans got to watch the USMNT up close and personal.
The last time the U.S. Men's National Team played at Crew Stadium was when the Yanks toppled rival Mexico on February 11, 2009 in 2010 World Cup Qualifying. Michael Bradley provided both goals in the 'dos a cero' 2-0 victory.
The only holdovers from that squad currently with the Stars & Stripes are Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore... and of course Frankie Hejduk, who started that match at right back, will be roaming around Crew Stadium on Tuesday night when the US hosts Jamaica.
Here are some highlights from the match from 2009:
After spending the summer playing with the United States U-15 and U-17 National Teams, Crew Soccer Academy standout Benny Swanson has accepted an offer to participate in the US U-17 Residency program in Bradenton, Florida.
The 15-year-old Grove City native hopes his decision will help him secure a spot in next year's U-17 World Cup.
"It's a great opportunity. It was kind of hard to pass up," Swanson said. "The [FIFA U-17] World Cup is next year in Dubai. I would like to make that roster, hopefully. If I don't, I hope I just learn every day in training in that environment with that pro mentality."
"It's great for our organization," Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss said. "Obviously it's a little bit premature to be speaking about Benny as a future pro for the club, but he's on the right track. It gives credibility to our organization on the youth side as to what we're doing."
Bliss says residency can only help Swanson's promising skill set.
"Right now, he's only getting three or four days of training each week, he's going to get five or six days each week training with the top players in the country at his age [in Bradenton]." Bliss explained. "He's got the ability to break down players off of the dribble and create on his own. He works for the good of the team in terms of being a team player. He's got an eye for the pass and can deliver it. He's got a multitude of skills and being in that environment for the next year, it's going to make him a better player."
The young midfielder's drive and skill set reminds Bliss of a certain US Men's National Team mainstay.
"He's got a lot of things Michael Bradley had," Bliss said. "Bradley grew physically really quick at the end, but he was also undersized. [Bradley] had the ability to dribble, pass, create, and had the same attitude and hunger for the game that Benny has. There are some comparisons. They may be unfair because Michael is a full national team player and I don't want to put pressure on [Swanson], but he's got a lot of this same [skills]."
Being in the same sentence with Bradley and others who attended the U-17 Residencty previously such as Landon Donovan, Brek Shea, and Eddie Gaven is still surreal Swanson says, but he remains determined to one day don the Black & Gold as a professional.
"It's kind of surreal, but I've been working hard. That's where hard work will get you," Swanson said. "The Crew has helped me a lot to progress as a player and as a person."
"[Playing professionally for the Crew] would be a dream come true," he finished.
Several MLSers talk about their favorite player which happens to hold a special place in our hearts, Brian McBride.
FREE Showing of the Jay Demerit Story at Capital University on Friday, April 27th at 7:00pm.
Rise and Shine follows the inspirational journey of Jay DeMerit from the 9th division of English football to the World Cup. It is a terrific story and one that every player & fan will love! ALSO..... Jay will be in town with the Whitecaps to play the Crew the next night and if his travel plans allow he may stop by the screening.
To RSVP your FREE tickets please go to the following link and click the Reserve ticket link in the middle of our page:
Former Crew legend Brian McBride is with the USMNT in Genoa, Italy along side former Fulham FC teammate Clint Depmsey. "Duece" recently broke McBride's all-time scoring record for an American in the Premier League with 37 goals in 2011.
The USMNT takes on Italy in a friendly on February 29th in Genoa. Check out www.ussoccer.com for up to date coverage.
— U.S. SOCCER (@ussoccer) February 28, 2012