FIFA U-17 World Cup record
USA have participated in 15 of the 16 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, having only missed out in 2013. The Stars and Stripes best showing to date has been at New Zealand 1999, where they came fourth, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final after losing to Australia on penalties in the semi-finals. The Americans reached the quarter-finals on four other occasions, most recently at Peru 2005. Last time out at Chile 2015, USA failed to emerge from the group stage for the first time since 2001.

Road to India
Despite eventually losing to Mexico in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship final on penalties, the USA’s most notable achievement at Panama 2017, aside from reaching the U-17 World Cup itself, was defeating El Tri 4-3 in a group stage thriller. The win was the USA U-17 side’s first victory against their arch-rivals in the history of the continental finals, and put an end to Mexico’s 25-game unbeaten streak in the tournament. USA impressed throughout the qualifying tournament, winning every game up to the dramatic finale, which saw Mexico equalise in stoppage time before sealing a shootout victory.

The coach
John Hackworth took over from Richie Williams, who was at the helm for USA’s disappointing performance at Chile 2015, as the USA’s U-17 coach in late 2015. The Florida native has previously been an assistant for the U-17 national team, and head coach at MLS side Philadelphia Union. He will be the last man to take charge of a U-17 national team that has been part of the USSF’s (United States Soccer Federation) Residency programme, which will be disbanded after the finals.

The stat
5 – Almost half of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship’s ‘Best XI’, as voted by the Technical Study Group of the tournament, were from USA: goalkeeper Justin Garces, defenders Jaylin Lindsey and James Sands, midfielder Chris Durkin and forward Josh Sargent all made the cut.