Team USA celebrates winning a gold medal. (USA Baseball)

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball unveiled the dates for the 2017 14U and 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) on Tuesday, as well as an enhancement to the 14U NTDP to 15U National Team athlete pipeline.

The 14U NTDP will continue to invite 40 athletes to participate in skill development sessions, which include guest speakers/instructors and Stars vs. Stripes intrasquad games, but now will select 18 athletes to compete for a national team roster spot in the 2017 15U National Team Trials.

The USA Baseball 15U National Team will compete in the 2017 COPABE Pan Am "AA" Championships in Colombia. The U.S. is the two-time defending champion in the event and will look to qualify for a berth into the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 World Cup in 2018.

"The national team development program is designed to provide a national team-like experience for athletes and we are excited to provide an immediate opportunity for those at the 14-and-under age level to compete for a national team roster spot," said Ashley Bratcher, Senior Director of Baseball Operations. "The talent in this age group has proven it can compete with the 15U age level through the USA Baseball Junior Prospect Classic and we look forward to building the best roster possible to compete in the COPABE Pan American Championships."

The 14U NTDP will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from July 24-29, and will be under the direction of Field Coordinator Jason Maxwell. Maxwell, the Head Coach at Ensworth High School (Nashville, Tenn.), made his international coaching debut with the U.S. as an assistant coach for the 2016 15U National Team, and has been an evaluator at national team trials for two years. 15U National Team Trials will begin July 29.

The National Team Development Program was created in 2012 and offers 14U and 17U athletes an unparalleled national team-level baseball experience to better prepare them for potential future international competition. It also serves to help young players accelerate their maturation and readiness for the next step in their respective baseball careers.

Since the program's inception in 2012, 48 national team development program attendees have earned spots on national team rosters at the 15U, 18U and Collegiate national team levels, including 2013 17U NTDP participant and 2016 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Finalist Seth Beer. Additionally, in the four years that NTDP participants have been draft eligible, 12 players have been drafted in the first five rounds of the MLB First Year Player Draft.

The 2017 17U NTDP will take place July 22-28 in Chicago and will feature intrasquad scrimmages at Northwestern University and Wrigley Field. The 40 players will be broken up into a Stars and Stripes squad, engage in training exercises, and receive exposure to professional scouts and college recruiters, as well as being evaluated by the 2017 18U National Team staff and USA Baseball scouts and task force.

"I can't say enough about the National Team Development Program," said 2017 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz, who served as a staff member during the 2016 17U NTDP. "Each player gets personalized instruction to help them get to the next level and gain exposure on the national stage; and the competition is second-to-none.

"The program is designed for player development but also forecasting for future national teams. It's an invaluable opportunity for athletes to play in front of future national team staffs, as well as college and professional scouts."

Eric Kibler will serve as the 17U Field Coordinator for the second consecutive year. Kibler is the head coach at Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and won the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year Award in 2010 after leading the 16U National Team to a gold medal in the Pan American Games in Mexico. He also served as the Field Coordinator at both the 14U and 17U levels from 2012-2014 and was an assistant coach on the 2015 18U National Team that won a gold medal at the WBSC U-15 World Cup.

The USA Baseball National Team Championships continues to be the primary selection vehicle for the NTDP program. The annual event is hosted in Glendale, Goodyear and Phoenix, Arizona, as well as Palm Beach County, Florida. Limited spots are available at the National Team Championships. Teams are encouraged to register today at USABaseball.com/Championships. For more information on the NTDP and National Team Championships, follow along on Twitter at @USABaseballNTDP, @USABChamps_East and @USABChamps_West.