On March 17, US Soccer announced the current semester of the U-17 Men's National Team Residency Program will be the last. Somewhat fittingly, the program is being shut down 18 years after it started: it's aged itself out of the U-17 cohort.
The reason for the decision is simple: US Soccer doesn't think it is necessary to centralize the training and development of U-17 prospects now that there is a robust national network of clubs coaching players for elite competition under the umbrella of the US Soccer Development Academy.
So, as USA U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos pointed out in an interview with ussoccer.com, the U-17s will now function much like the U-20s: drawing from scouting of players at their clubs to select its squads.
ussoccer.com: What will U-17 programming look like moving forward?
Tab Ramos: It will look very similar to our U-20 National Team programming. There will be five or six camps per year and the head coach will be keeping track of players at their own clubs.
In the immediate term, the USA U-17s are preparing for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which starts on April 21. US Soccer's decision shouldn't make much difference to preparations for that tournament, but the goal of that competition is qualification for the U-17 World Cup in October.
Assuming the US qualifies for the U-17 World Cup - and it will be surprising if it does not since the current U-17 squad has looked very impressive in recent months - the dispersal of the central U-17 program should mean that players return to their clubs as elite prospects who need to be kept fit and in form to be make the World Cup squad.
In the case of the New York Red Bulls, that might mean that USA U-17 ever-present Chris Gloster will be spending more time with the Academy this year than might have been expected (though the Red Bulls presumably have been aware of US Soccer's plan for a while - it doesn't appear to have been a surprising decision to those inside the American youth soccer community).
And that might mean NYRB II has effectively picked up another member of its squad for some portion of the USL season ahead. RBNY Academy's Gloster is already the youngest American ever to start in USL. He didn't look out of lace during that appearance last season, and he might be a worthy contributor to NYRB II's cause in 2017.
Keep an eye on the movements of the USA U-17 squad. Once the players are released back to their clubs, look to see if Gloster's name starts popping up on NYRB II match-day rosters.