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Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, one of the U.S.’ top male soccer players, said Wednesday that he would like to play in the Olympics, but that’s not something he controls.
“The Olympics is of course a massive honor to play in, and to represent your country in an Olympics would be amazing,” Pulisic said, according to ProSoccerTalk. “I am fully supporting the guys in qualifying now. It is something I’ve thought about and that I’ve wanted to play in. Obviously I can’t control exactly what goes on and what is best for me at the time and the team at the time, I can’t say. But it is something that I would like to play in.”
The U.S. plays a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying on Sunday in Mexico against, likely, either Canada or Honduras.
The U.S. failed to qualify for the Olympics in 2012 and 2016.
Pulisic, 22, is one of many U.S. stars who are age-eligible for the under-23 qualifying tournament but are not on the roster. That’s in large part because clubs aren’t required to release players for Olympic qualifying, and it’s midseason for the top European leagues.
Complicating matters: clubs aren’t required to release players for the Olympics, either. But they are required to release players for the Gold Cup, a senior tournament for the U.S. and other national teams that runs during the Olympics.
The Gold Cup is the U.S.’ premier international tournament between now and the 2022 World Cup.
This brings to mind what happened five years ago, when a deal was struck among Brazil, FC Barcelona and Neymar to allow him to play in the Rio Olympics but not Copa America Centenario, which was a tournament for which clubs were required to release players.
Other American stars in a similar situation to Pulisic: Weston McKennie of Juventus, Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund, Sergiño Dest of Barcelona and Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig.
The U.S. is so stocked with young talent that all of team are age-eligible for the Olympics (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997) without having to use one of up to three over-age exceptions.
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Christian Pulisic wants to play in Olympics, but it’s complicated originally appeared on NBCSports.com