Academy goalkeeper, US U-17s go to Europe

Dynamo's Fernando Piña makes roster for trip to England, Italy

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Photo Credit: 
Houston Dynamo

Youth development
has been a hot-button topic in the U.S. soccer scene recently. The U.S.
U-17 team and Dynamo Academy goalkeeper Fernando Piña will surely be a big part of the conversation this week when
they begin a whirlwind friendly tour of Europe.

Wilmer Cabrera’s
charges are due to arrive in England on Friday. They will train at
Manchester City’s academy facility and then play friendlies against Manchester
City (April 20) and Wigan Athletic (April 22).

Next week, the
team travels to Italy to take part in the 23rd International Tournament
of Gradisca. The centerpiece match for the U.S. is the April 25 opener
against fellow CONCACAF giants Mexico. The last time the U-17s faced
Mexico, in February, the U.S. thumped their rivals 4-1.

The
U.S. will finish up group play against Romania and Croatia on April 26
and 27, respectively. If the U.S. advances, the semifinals are April 28, and
the final is April 30.

The squad Cabrera chose includes Piña, who entered the U-17 residency program in September after traveling on the Dynamo's European tour last August. It also includes Kellen
Gulley, Alejandro Guido, and Marc Pelosi, all of whom scored against
Mexico in February.

The most interesting inclusion is Matt
Dunn, who joined the youth academy of Bundesliga club FC Köln last
year. The skillful central midfielder has been playing semi-regularly
for the club’s U-16s, and gotten onto the scoresheet now and then,
including notching a goal in a 3-0 trouncing of Borussia Dortmund last
month.

Here is the full squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Wade Hamilton (Murietta, Calif.; Arsenal FC), Fernando Pina (Houston Dynamo Academy; Houston, Texas)

DEFENDERS:
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas Juniors; Plano, Texas), Holden Fender
(Marietta, Ga.; North Atlanta SA), Riggs Lennon (Sereno SC; Paradise
Valley, Ariz.), Alessandro Mion (Miami FC Kendall; Miami, Fla.), Marc
Pelosi (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Nathan Smith (Cal Odyssey;
Clovis, Calif.), Andrew Souders (Columbus Crew Academy; Amherst, Ohio)

MIDFIELDERS:
Joe Amon (South Carolina United; Summerville, S.C.), Matt Dunn (FC
Köln; Boulder, Colo.), Alejandro Guido (Aztecs FC Premier; Chula Vista,
Calif.), Nico Melo (Florida Rush; Kissimmee, Fla.), Tarik Salkicic
(Strictly Soccer; Pinellas Park, Fla.)

FORWARDS: Nicko
Corriveau (Bethesda SC; Potomac, Md.), Kellen Gulley (MS Chicago Fire
Juniors; Clinton, Miss.), Takuya Okada (Aztecs FC Premier; San Diego,
Calif.), Andrew Oliver (Westside United; Indianapolis, Ind.), Esteban
Rodriguez (LAFC Chelsea; Palmdale, Calif.), Mario Rodriguez (Central
Aztecs; North Hollywood, Calif.)