TACOMA, WASH. – Tacoma Defiance midfielder Christopher Aquino and defender Stuart Hawkins have been selected to the U.S. Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team for the Concacaf U-17 Championship in Guatemala. Head Coach Gonzalo Segares’ 20-man roster aims to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru this fall.
Aquino, 16, has started all five of his MLS NEXT appearances this season for Seattle’s U-17 squad and scored seven goals in 12 appearances last year. He was one of two players, along with Hawkins, to be named to the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star game. Aquino was also on the squad that won the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup before signing with Defiance on December 7.
Hawkins, 16, signed with Defiance last summer and appeared in four matches (all starts) for the club in 2022, allowing just one goal in those four starts (three shutouts). Hawkins has previously played for the USMYNT at the U-16 and U-17 levels. Hawkins was named Most Valuable Player of the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup.
The Concacaf U-17 Championship takes place from February 11-26 in Guatemala and is a chance for the USMYNT to qualify for a record 18th FIFA U-17 World Cup, taking place this fall in Peru. Playing in Group F, the squad plays Barbados on February 11, Trinidad & Tobago on February 13 and Canada on February 15. The top three finishers in the four groups advance to the Round of 16 and join the four teams already qualified for the Knockout Round, with the four semifinalists qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.