Sporting KC Academy midfielder Gianluca Busio and defender Mitch Eise have been named to the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team roster that will compete in the 2017 CONCACAF U-15 Championship, running from August 13-19 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The competition marks the second U-15 confederation championship and the first time that the USA are participating.
Busio and Eise both featured for the Sporting KC Academy U-16s last season and were key contributors for a team that advanced to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy quarterfinals.
Busio, who celebrated his 15th birthday in May, scored nine league goals for the U-16s and also earned playing time for the U-18s throughout the 2016-17 season. The North Carolina native (pictured above) has been a fixture for the U.S. at the youth national team level and most recently scored three goals as the U.S. U-15s won the 2017 Torneo delle Nazioni in Italy. Busio was one of four Sporting KC Academy players to earn Central Conference Best XI honors.
Eise joined the SKC Academy from Academy Affiliate Sporting Springfield last season and made an immediate impact along the backline despite being one of the youngest players on the roster. Despite being age eligible for the SKC Academy U14s, Eise broke into the U-16 starting lineup and started all four matches during the club's playoff run.
The USA has been drawn into Group B along with Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. The U-15 MNT opens against Canada on Sunday, August 13 at 8 a.m. CT, followed by Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, August 14 at 10 a.m. CT and Costa Rica on Wednesday, August 16 at 8 a.m. CT.
If the USA finishes first or second in group play, they will face the runner-up or winner of Group A, respectively, consisting of Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama in the semifinals on Thursday, August 17. Should the USA advance past the semifinal match, the red white and blue would play in the final on Saturday, August 19.
“This is an important tournament for us, especially after the success we’ve had with the U-20’s and U-17’s this year,” Van Den Bergh said. “It’s going to be the first time ever that our U-15 National Team is going to take part in the CONCACAF U-15 Championship. We always want to win, but the inaugural one is a big one for us. It’s going to be big on our list of achievements that we want to accomplish for the duration of the tournament.
“This is a very good opportunity for these boys to showcase themselves against competition they’ll be facing for the rest of their lives, in qualifying. Hopefully, this is going to be a warm up for things to come and the future for these boys.”
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): JT Harms (Shattuck-Saint Mary's; Faribault, Minn.), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.)
DEFENDERS (6): Axel Alejandre (FC United Soccer Club; Chicago, Ill.), George Bello (Atlanta United; Douglasville, Ga.), Mitch Eise (Sporting Kansas City; Springfield, Mo.), Mason Judge (Chargers Soccer Club; Tampa, Fla.), Kenny Nielsen (Pateadores; Irvine, Calif.), Joseph Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Josh Atencio (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Cesar Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Adam Saldana (Real So Cal; Panorama City, Calif.), Peter Stroud (New York Red Bulls; Chester, N.J.)
FORWARDS (5): Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.), Julian Gaines (Lonestar Soccer Club; Austin, Texas), Daniel Mangarov (Atlanta United; Duluth, Ga.), Alfonso Ocampo Chavez (Seattle Sounders; Fresno, Calif.), Giovanni Reyna (New York City FC; Bedford, N.Y.)