The US U-17 Men's National Team concluded a successful 2016 with a 3-0 win over Brazil in the Nike International Friendlies. Goals from Ayo Akinola, Josh Sargent, and super-sub Timothy Weah settled the contest, and handed the U-17s a perfect three-wins-from-three-games record in the tournament.
The New York Red Bulls Academy's Chris Gloster started and played the full match, continuing his run as the team's regular left back. It will be a surprise if Gloster is left out of the U-17 MNT squad for next year's CONCACAF U-17 Championship - and the U-17 World Cup the team will expect to appear in also.
Top Drawer Soccer's Travis Clark loaned himself out to Four Four Two to highlight Gloster as one of five players in the U-17 squad at the Nike Friendlies who appears to have senior USMNT potential.
U-17 head coach John Hackworth praised his squad's performance in the Nike Friendlies, telling ussoccer.com:
The players are technical enough now that we can play against the best teams in the world and in some cases, not only compete with them on a technical and tactical side, but be successful like we were this week.
The results of 2016 (19 wins out of 29 games played) will quickly be forgotten if 2017 doesn't deliver the credible U-17 CONCACAF Championship and World Cup performances expected. But this cohort's biggest concern would appear to be losing its rapidly ascending stars to more important assignments than the U-17 MNT. If the squad's best players are still available to it for next year's competitions, 2017 looks like it could be a memorable year for the US U-17s.