Raphael Wicky

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USA U17s handed tricky World Cup group

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Well, this will be tough.

The U-17 U.S. national team have found out who they will face in the group stage of the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Brazil, as the Baby Nats will face Senegal, Japan and the Netherlands in Group D.

Raphael Wicky’s side, captained by Borussia Dortmund bound Gio Reyna, have plenty of top young talents in their ranks and they will be looking to be the first U.S. U17 side since 1999 to make it past the last eight. Alongside Reyna, Kobe Hernandez, Griffin Yow, Gianluca Busio and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez will lead this team.

If the U.S. make it out of their group there is the potential to play against the likes of Argentina, Spain or Brazil in the Round of 16.

Canada’s youngsters were placed in Group A alongside hosts Brazil, Angola and New Zealand, while Mexico have are in Group F with Italy, Paraguay and the Solomon Islands. Rounding out the CONCACAF representatives, Haiti will face Chile, France and South Korea in Group C.

The tournament kicks off on Oct. 26 and runs until Nov. 17, with games to be played at the Estadio da Serrinha and Estadio Olimpico in Goiania, plus the Estadio Bezerrao in Gama and the Estadio Kleber Andrade in Cariacica.

Below is the group stage draw in full.

Raphael Wicky hired as US under-17 head coach

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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CHICAGO (AP) Former Basel coach Raphael Wicky has been hired to replace John Hackworth as coach of the U.S. under-17 team.

The 41-year-old former defensive midfielder made 75 appearances for Switzerland from 1996-08 and was on the roster for the World Cup in 2006 and the European Championship in 1996 and 2004. He played for Sion (1993-97, 2007), Werder Bremen (1997-00), Atletico Madrid (2001), Hamburg (2001-07) and Chivas USA (2008).

After coaching youth teams at Thun, Servette and Basel, he led Basel to the Champions League round of 16 in 2017-18, then was fired just before the start of this season.

Hackworth left last August to coach second-tier Louisville.

Wicky’s hiring was announced Friday by Nico Romejin, the USSF’s chief sport development officer. The U.S. is preparing for qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup in Bradenton, Florida, where the Americans play Canada on May 2, Barbados two days later and Guatemala on May 6.