The United States Soccer Federation started the Bradenton U-17 academy program in 1999 and right out of the gate they produced/were blessed with an incredible crop of talent.
The 1999 group looks better with each passing year, having sent Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu, Kyle Beckerman, and Bobby Convey, among others, to the professional ranks.
With each new U-17 group that convenes in Florida, the question resurfaces: Where are the next Donovans and Beasleys?
It’s way too early to tell, but attacker Rubio Rubin of Beaverton, Oregon, could be the best answer to that question in years. Wednesday night, in the opening game of this year’s Nike Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., he scored two goals and set up two others to help the U.S. tie none other than Brazil, 4-4.
The Yanks held a 3-1 lead in the second half, and were up 4-3 with nine minutes to play, but could not hold on to the lead.
Here’s some postgame reaction from coach (and MLS ref Michael Kennedy doppelganger) Richie Williams, striker Ahinga Selemani (Ann Arbor, MI) and Rubin:
These games are not being televised for some reason (they were on Fox Soccer last year), and US Soccer is so far being stingy with the highlights, but hopefully we’ll be able to post them as the tournament progresses. The U.S. takes on Turkey tonight.