Sunderland with USBNT for international friendlies

Consider Larry Sunderland a multitasker.

While he’s FC Cincinnati’s director of player development and oversees the FC Cincinnati Academy, he also oversees some of country’s best young players in his other job: the U.S. Under-16 National Team coach.

Beginning Thursday and stretching through Monday, Sunderland will coach the U-16 National Team in the prestigious Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

This is the 19th Nike International Friendlies, with the U.S. U-16’s, U-17’s and youth national teams from Turkey and the Netherlands all competing at this year’s event. 

Some of the country’s top talents – Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Sergiño Dest – all have represented the U.S. in this tournament. Opponents have included Neymar and Marcello for Brazil and Jadon Sancho for England.

All 20 players Sunderland will coach came through a U.S. Soccer Development Academy and played at least one season in the DA. This is just another reminder of why the FC Cincinnati Academy can not only supply the Orange and Blue with MLS talent, but potentially players who will represent the national team at various levels.

Speaking of the FCC Academy…

The U-15’s and U-17’s host the Columbus Crew SC Academy on Sunday in a youth version of the Hell is Real Derby. (Heck is Real?)Academy matches Mercy Health Training Center aren’t open to the public this fall, but FCC anticipates opening Academy games to the public this spring. 

The Columbus games are the Academy’s final matches of the fall season. After Sunday, FCC won’t play another match until mid-February when DA and various cup qualifiers resume. 

An interesting note going into the weekend: the U-15’s beat Crew SC Academy, 2-1, last month in a DA Cup regional qualifier in Toronto.