Raphael Wicky, head coach for the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team, has called 23 players up for one final camp before he assembles his group for the U-17 World Cup in October. This group will compete in the Four Nations Tournament in the Netherlands, which runs from September 5th to 9th. The team will test themselves against Denmark, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
This tournament is certainly an opportunity to increase familiarity among the group, but it also seems to be an opportunity for Wicky to make final decisions about who he will take to Brazil for the World Cup. Six players on this roster are looking to earn their first cap with the U-17s, including recently switched dual-national Nico Carrera and Sounders Academy player Ethan Dobbelaere. Dobbelaere got called into a U-17 camp for the first time in July, fresh off making his first appearance with Tacoma Defiance in a 4-1 victory over Las Vegas Lights. Dobbelaere has now played in three of Tacoma’s last five games, including the team’s last two contests.
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, a mainstay on the U-17s in their journey towards the World Cup, enters camp as the leading U-17 goal-scorer with 9 goals. Ocampo-Chavez grabbed his first two professional goals and his first assist in the same game where Dobbelaere made his first appearance with Tacoma, before the two joined the last U-17 camp. Since then, AOC has played in every one of Tacoma’s games that he’s been available for. He put in a promising performance as they played Phoenix Rising in what looked like a potential win before the wheels fell off as Phoenix went Super Saiyan and scored three goals in under five minutes to stretch their winning streak to 16 games. Before that happened, though, AOC was wreaking havoc with smart runs, clever passing, and some surprisingly strong, physical play. He drew the penalty for Tacoma’s first goal, and with some better luck could have had a couple more goals or assists before coming off in the 70th minute.
Both Dobbelaere and Ocampo-Chavez will hope that their recent performances with Tacoma will help them to make a mark with the U-17s and solidify their places on the roster when Wicky names his squad for the World Cup. Danny Leyva, who has often seemed to be the best player on the field for the U.S. U-17s, was not called into this camp. There is talk of both the U-20s and U-23s having camps around the same time, so whether Leyva’s absence from the U-17s is a matter of being needed by Seattle/Tacoma, getting a look with one of the older groups, or something else entirely remains to be seen.
At this time there doesn’t seem to be any way of watching the tournament, but that may change as the games approach.