• Tuesday May 09, 2017

    Mexico U17s satisfied with CONCACAF title, but look ahead

    Mexico players and staff (pictured) celebrate after winning the 2017 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship on May 7, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)

    MEXICO CITY – Mexico earned its third consecutive CONCACAF Under-17 Championship title on Sunday in Panama City, Panama, prevailing over the United States in the final, 5-4 on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw.

    It certainly wasn’t easy, however. The Tricolor fell 4-3 to the Americans during the group stage and appeared on the way to another loss when Carlos Robles leveled dramatically in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.

    "We feel very happy, satisfied. It is a goal that we had set,” said head coach Mario Arteaga at a press conference after the team arrived back in Mexico City on Monday night. “We faced the tournament as completely as possible in every way.”

    Part of those preparations was dealing with expectations created by the successes of past sides.

    "It was a lot, because we are facing a tournament where we are 12 selections and we all want to go to the World Cup,” Arteaga remarked about the pressure to win. “Mexico always tries to go one step above. In the last two (CONCACAF) tournaments we were champions. We went to validate and so it came out.

    “Young people, since the age of 14, have already generated that responsibility and I think they did very well. Nerves are not neglected because it is their first official competition.”

    Despite lifting the trophy with a group of 20 accomplished players, Arteaga made it clear that there will be competition for seats on the plane to India for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

    "As of yesterday, we talked with the players and we start from scratch,” he finished. “The national team is back open. Because we remember that it is with the current players, they already have an advantage, which is the process. But they are not guaranteed their place. They have to do well their clubs and in the training camps."

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