The U.S. Olympic men’s soccer qualifying roster has been named as the program bids for its first Olympic berth since 2008.
The team of 20, coached by Jason Kreis, is mostly MLS players.
Last March, a roster with some — but not all — of the same players was named for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. Four days later, the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U-23 tournament was ultimately rescheduled for March 18-30 in Guadalajara, the same site as the originally planned 2020 event.
Clubs are not required to release players for youth tournaments such as Olympic qualifying, which may have restricted availability of top prospects from European leagues.
That meant that Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Juventus’ Weston McKennie and Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna were never likely to be named to the Olympic qualifying roster, even though they are age eligible. They were not on a 50-player provisional roster announced last week, nor the final roster.
The U.S. must win a March 28 CONCACAF tournament semifinal to get to Tokyo.
To reach that semi, the U.S. must finish first or second in its group against CONCACAF power Mexico, Costa Rica (which usually qualifies for the World Cup but hasn’t been to an Olympics since 2004) and the Dominican Republic.
If it advances, the U.S. would likely play Honduras or Canada in a winner-to-Tokyo semifinal. If the U.S. qualifies, its Olympic roster must be 18 players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997, with three over-age exceptions allowed.
The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic tournaments, marking its first back-to-back Olympic absences since 1964 and 1968 (not counting the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games).
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U.S. men’s soccer roster named for Olympic qualifying (again) originally appeared on NBCSports.com