Union U-17s Set to Kickoff In SUM U-17 Cup

Union squad drawn into Group B with Seattle, Columbus, Dallas

The Philadelphia
Union are only four months into their inaugural season, but the club has
already begun putting in place a foundation for sustained success. In addition
to a young and talented first-team roster featuring the likes of Danny Mwanga,
Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Roger Torres, the expansion side has started
piecing together their player development structure. With a partnership in
place with YSC Sports that focuses on player development from ages 8-12, the
Union will field their first U-17 squad Friday night in the SUM U-17 Cup.

The SUM U-17 Cup is a youth tournament comprised
exclusively of all 16 Major League Soccer U-17 teams, with the winner of the
tournament advancing to play in next year’s prestigious Torneo Quixote youth
tournament in Spain and the runner up joining the SuperGroup of the Dallas Cup.

The 2010 SUM U-17 Cup will be held at Houston’s
Centennial Park complex from July 23-28, with the final taking place on July 28
at Reliant Stadium before the MLS All-Stars take on Manchester United in the
2010 MLS All-Star game.

In June, MLS Executive Vice President of Competition
Todd Durbin conducted the draw, which placed the 16 MLS teams into four groups
of four. Each team will play against each of the other teams in their
respective group, with the winner of each group advancing to the single-game
semifinals. The semifinal winners will advance to the finals on July 28.

Philadelphia Union believe strongly that youth player development is a key for
long term success,” said Coach John Hackworth, who is overseeing the program. “Moreover,
we feel that it is important to both work with and lead the local youth soccer
community in the best practices of player development.

“This U-17
Academy group is special because they are the first team to train and compete
under our direction. We hope that this experience will prove to be a valuable
step in each players life both on and off the field."

While Hackworth
is in charge of the overall vision of the program, former Scottish
international Iain Munro is serving as Head Coach, with Ian Hennessy as
Assistant Coach. Munro has extensive experience as an
ex-professional soccer player who played in the top soccer divisions in
Scotland and England during a long playing career. He played for teams including Glasgow
Rangers and Sunderland, working under renowned coaches including Jock Stein and
Sir Alex Ferguson. Hennessy, a former All-American soccer player at
Seton Hall who played professionally with a number of teams including the New
York MetroStars, currently serves as Head Men’s Soccer Coach at the University
of Delaware.

Headlining the squad is Alex Shinsky, a crafty forward from York, Pa., who scored for the U-17 U.S. National Team against Malawi in last year’s U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. The Union also feature Mike Gonzalez and James McLaughlin, who combined for 11 goals for FC Delco in league play last season. With two other players, Zach Pfeffer and Darius Madison, currently in the U-17 residency camp, there's plenty of talent for the squad to make a run deep into the tournament despite a lack of experience playing together.

The Union’s U-17 squad will compete in Group B along with the Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas.

Union U-17 Schedule (All times CST)

July 23, 8:00 p.m.  Columbus Crew vs. Philadelphia Union

24, 8:00 p.m.  Seattle Sounders vs. Philadelphia Union

July 26, 6:00 p.m.  Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas


Group A winner vs. Group B winner
and Group C vs. Group D winner; 6:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m. at Carl Lewis Field


4:00 p.m., at Reliant Stadium in conjunction with the 2010 MLS All-Star


Watch: 2010 SUM U-17 Cup Draw

Group A: Colorado Rapids, D.C.
United, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes

Group B: Columbus Crew, FC Dallas,
Philadelphia Union, Seattle Sounders

Group C: Houston Dynamo, Chivas
USA, New England Revolution, Toronto FC

Group D: Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New
York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake