Two standouts from the Sounders youth system, forwards Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Ray Serrano, have been called-up to the United States U-17 Men’s National Team by Head Coach John Hackworth for an international camp in San Jose, Costa Rica, which will run from August 2-13. In preparation for next year’s Concacaf U-17 Championship, which serves as the qualification tournament for the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Peru, the Stars and Stripes will play two friendlies each against Mexico and Costa Rica during the 12-day camp.
“Obviously every time you get called up for the national team, it’s a big honor,” said U-17 Head Coach Chris Little. “They’re playing some quality opponents, so it’s good exposure for Ray and Alfonso to show what they’re capable of.”
A mainstay on the USYNT circuit since the U-17 level, Ocampo-Chavez enters the camp in top-form after scoring seven goals from six playoff matches as the Sounders claimed the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Title. Serrano, who earned his first USYNT call-up towards the tail-end of 2017, will also enter the international trip full of confidence, with the Moses Lake native having bagged a brace in Seattle’s 5-1 win over Atlanta United in the USSDA championship match. A creative, goal-dangerous winger, Serrano has been called-up for every U.S. U-17 event since the start of the new cycle.
Ray Serrano reacts after scoring in the Sounders Academy 5-1 win over Atlanta United / Nick Smith
Ocampo-Chavez and Serrano made their professional debuts in USL at the age of 15, with both prospects inking professional contracts with Sounders FC 2 earlier this year.
With the possibility to represent the Stars and Stripes at the 2019 U-17 World Cup looming over the horizon, it’s important for the young Sounders to capitalize on each chance to impress the U.S. coaching staff. Ahead of what will be an arduous qualifying campaign, the upcoming camp presents a valuable litmus test against Concacaf competition while playing in Central America.
“It’s a World Cup cycle, so every cap they can get is important,” said Little. “If they can continue to show well in these camps and fight for their spots, there’s a possibility they can represent the United States at the U-17 World Cup.”
The full schedule and roster for the camp can be found here.