COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Thursday, June 9, 2011) – Colorado Rapids Academy midfielder Dillon Serna was named today to the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team by head coach Wilmer Cabrera. The 21-player roster will represent the United States at the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup, starting on June 18 in Mexico.
“We are thrilled for Dillon to have been selected to represent the United States Under-17 team at the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said Jeff Plush, Colorado Rapids Managing Director. “He has a fantastic work ethic and has shown a determination to excel among his peers, not only here with the Rapids Academy, but also in the Residency Program. We are honored to have Dillon representing the Rapids, and wish him and the team the best of luck in Mexico.”
“It’s crazy knowing that I can be part of the best 21 players in my age in this country,” Serna said. “It’s great to be able to represent my country, my state, and my club by playing with the U.S. National Team at the World Cup. This is what I’ve been working for and it’s great to know that the work is paying off.”
The Brighton, Colo. native was participating with the Rapids U-17 team at the 2010 SUM U-17 Cup in Houston last July when he was identified by Cabrera and invited to try out for the U.S. U-17 Residency Program. He made the 40-player roster and has been training and going to school in Bradenton, Florida since August. After making his trip with the U.S. U-17s for games in Spain, he scored his first international goal in November in a 2-1 loss to Scotland.
“These are the 21 players who earned the right to represent their country in the World Cup,” said Cabrera. “The roster was open until the last day and these players demonstrated that they were the top in the country, but they also showed the commitment, sacrifice and mentality to represent the United States at this important tournament.”
Serna, 17, becomes the first Colorado-native to make a U.S. U-17 World Cup roster since Littleton’s Seth Trembly, a former Rapids player, was part of the 1999 U-17 World Cup.
In January, an emergency appendectomy put Serna’s chances of joining the U.S. U-17 team in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which served as World Cup qualifying tournament, in jeopardy. However 10 days after his surgery, he scored a goal in a friendly against Honduras and was added to the roster. He started the tournament opener against Cuba and the championship game against Canada.
Serna has also been called back to play Rapids Reserve team matches on three occasions, including twice this season, at Dallas and home against Kansas City.
Cabrera’s team will kick off Group D on June 19 against the Czech Republic (7 p.m. ET), followed by a match against Uzbekistan on June 22 (4 p.m. ET), and the final group match against New Zealand on June 26 (7 p.m. ET.). The U.S. games will be shown on ESPNU and Galavision and every game will be shown live on ESPN3.
The U.S. team will depart for Torreon on Friday, June 10, to begin final preparations for its opener nine days later. The 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup will feature 24 teams playing from June 18-July 10 in seven venues across Mexico: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelia, Monterrey, Pachuca, Queretaro and Torreon.
The U.S. qualified for Mexico by winning the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in February. After winning two group games against Cuba and Panama, a thrilling overtime victory in the quarterfinal match against El Salvador sealed the Americans berth to the World Cup. Cabrera’s team went on to win its semifinal match against host Jamaica before a 3-0 overtime victory against Canada gave the United States the regional championship.
The U.S., the only nation to have qualified for all 14 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, was one of six teams seeded ahead of the draw along with host Mexico, Argentina, England, Germany and Brazil.
The top two teams in each group, plus the four best third-place finishers, advance to the Round of 16. Should the U.S. advance as the top team in Group D, it would play a third-place finisher from either Group B, E or F. If the U.S. advances as the second-place finisher in its group, it would match up against the top team in Group E, which is made up of Germany, Burkina Faso, Panama and Ecuador.
Date Of Birth: March 25, 1994
Hometown: Brighton, Colo.
Club: Colorado Rapids Academy