MUMBAI, India — The United States has been drawn into a group that includes host India, Colombia and Ghana for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
The event will be played across six venues in India from Oct. 6-28.
Defender James Sands, who recently signed with New York City FC, helped the U.S. qualify at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in the spring and is expected to be a part of the American squad.
The draw revealed that India will face the U.S. in its opening match in New Delhi on the first day of the competition Oct. 6.
The Americans will meet Ghana in New Delhi Oct. 9 before completing Group A play vs. Colombia in Mumbai Oct. 12.
“Right now our team is chomping at the bit to get back into international completion because in our last experience, we walked away with a real sour taste in our mouth,” U.S. U-17 head coach John Hackworth said. “This team has ambitions and the only way to satisfy some of those ambitions is to get back on the field and prove yourself once again. This is a fantastic opportunity for us. We are going to work very hard and very smart as we build towards the World Cup, but we are certainly excited about the chance.”
Perhaps the most intriguing quartet of teams can be found in Group D, where FIFA tournament debutants Niger was drawn with Korea DPR, Brazil, and Spain.
The draw ceremony was held in the presence of U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, also a FIFA Council member, Praful Patel, president of the All India Football Federation and Vijay Goel, Indian Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports.
“This tournament for me and for FIFA is about aspiration,” Gulati said. “Generally, we think about the aspirations of the players… but we don’t know who they are until they’ve played in this tournament and become stars afterwards. But they are aspiring when they play in the Under-17 World Cup… But it is also aspiration for India, aspiration for Indian football. We can bring those two things together and what’s been happening in the country over the last few years since this tournament was awarded to India is extraordinary.”
Group A: India, USA, Colombia, Ghana
Group B: Paraguay, Mali, New Zealand, Turkey
Group C: Iran, Guinea, Germany, Costa Rica
Group D: Korea DPR, Niger, Brazil, Spain
Group E: Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia, France
Group F: Iraq, Mexico, Chile, England