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U.S. U-17 MNT Head Coach John Hackworth hired by Louisville City

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The youth national team head coach departs for the reigning USL champions.

United States v Canada: Third Place-2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Louisville City FC announced the hiring of John Hackworth as its new head coach. The 48-year old is currently managing the U.S. U-17 men’s national team.

Louisville, playing its fourth season, won last year’s USL Championship and is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Hackworth will remain with the U-17s at their current training camp in Costa Rica. The squad faces Mexico on August 6th and 12th and Costa Rica on August 7th and 10th.

“I’m going to be double-dipping, for sure,” Hackworth said in an interview with LouisvilleCityFC.com. “I’m going to be doing as much work as I can to be prepared when I do arrive at the club. I’ll be anxious during that time, but I still have a responsibility to the U.S. U-17 National Team and we have some tough games so I’ll try to make sure that I stay focused on both tasks.”

Hackworth previously managed the U-17s from 2004 through 2007 and began his second stint in 2015 after a stop with the Philadelphia Union. He steered the squad to a second place finish in the 2017 CONCACAF Championship and a quarterfinal appearance at the 2017 World Cup in India.

As seems to be the case with much of U.S. Soccer, the U-17 team is in something of a transitional period following the ending of the long-running Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. It remains a key age group for development and scouting as it provides most players — particularly those without a passport or visa who can’t join foreign clubs before turning 18 — with a platform to impress foreign clubs before embarking on their professional careers. The right coach can integrate and promote talented players who will pay future dividends for the senior national team; the wrong coach can create rifts with players, particularly dual-nationals, and disrupt entire generations of talent.

U.S. Soccer has some time to find a replacement, as the upcoming CONCACAF Championship and World Cup aren’t until 2019. Possible candidates could include current coaches within the system such as Dave van den Bergh (U-19), Omid Namazi (U-18), and Shaun Tsakiris (U-16), but there are currently no rumored or reported names.