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The United States will attempt to qualify for the men's Olympic soccer competition for the first time since 2008 when Concacaf qualifying kicks off Thursday.
Missing out on the 2012 and 2016 Olympic competitions has only added to the sense of urgency for U.S. Soccer to qualify for this summer's Games in Tokyo, Japan. Coach Jason Kreis' squad includes a significant representation from Major League Soccer teams, as well as some clubs overseas. Some worthy age-eligible players were not released by their teams for Olympic qualifying for varying reasons (Atlanta United, for example, held out three players since the team is preparing for its Concacaf Champions League opener on April 6).
The men's Olympic soccer competition is unique to the World Cup in that only players under the age of 23 are eligible (there are no age restrictions in the women's Olympic competition). Since the Olympics were delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are age-eligible to compete in the tournament, which means some players might be 24 years old.
The Concacaf men's Olympic qualifying competition is being held in Mexico, with Guadalajara (at Estadio Jalisco) and Zapopan (at Estadio Akron) as the host locations.
Who are the Concacaf men's Olympic qualifying teams?
The two teams that reach the competition's final will automatically qualify for the Olympics in Japan (July 23-Aug. 8).
How to watch Olympic qualifying on TV?
What is the Olympic qualifying schedule?
Thursday, March 18
U.S. vs. Costa Rica, 5:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Mexico vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m. ET (FS1)
Friday, March 19
Honduras vs. Haiti, 3:30 p.m. ET (FS2)
Canada vs. El Salvador, 6 p.m. ET (FS1)
Sunday, March 21
Dominican Republic vs. U.S., 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
Costa Rica vs. Mexico, 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Monday, March 22
Haiti vs. Canada, 6 p.m. ET (FS1)
El Salvador vs. Honduras, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Wednesday, March 24
Costa Rica vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m. ET (FS2)
Mexico vs. U.S., 9:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Thursday, March 25
El Salvador vs. Haiti, 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Honduras vs. Canada, 10 p.m. ET (FS1)
March 28 - Knockout stage: Semifinals
Winner Group B vs. runner-up Group A, 6 p.m. ET (FS1)
Winner Group A vs. runner-up Group B, 6 p.m. ET (FS1)
March 30 - Knockout stage: Final
Semifinal winners, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)
Who is on the US roster for Olympic qualifying?
Coach: Jason Kreis
Goalkeepers (3): Matt Freese (club: Philadelphia Union; hometown: Wayne, Pa.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes, Alamo, Calif.), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.)
Defenders (6): Julian Araujo (Los Angeles Galaxy; Lompoc, Calif.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake; Las Cruces, N.M.), Henry Kessler (New England Revolution; New York, N.Y.), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire FC; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Midfielders (7): Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/Brazil; Denville, N.J.), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen/Netherlands; Lynwood, Calif.), Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal/Canada; Lemont, Ill.), Andrés Perea (Orlando City SC; Medellín, Colombia), Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas/Mexico; Park City, Utah), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; Bloomington, Minn.)
Forwards (4): Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids; Plantation, Fla.), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Sebastian Soto (Norwich City/England; San Diego, Calif.)
MLS players on rosters of other qualification teams
Canada (11): James Pantemis (CF Montréal), Zachary Brault Guillard (CF Montréal), Zorhan Bassong (CF Montréal), Derek Cornelius (Vancouver Whitecaps), Michael Baldisimo (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution), Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (CF Montréal), Ryan Raposo (Vancouver Whitecaps), Theo Bair (Vancouver Whitecaps), Callum Montgomery (Minnesota United), Patrick Metcalfe (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Costa Rica (3): Marvin Loria (Portland Timbers), Randall Leal (Nashville SC), Luis Diaz (Columbus Crew SC)
Dominican Republic (1): Edison Azcona (Inter Miami CF)
El Salvador (3): Tomas Romero (LAFC), Eric Calvillo (San Jose Earthquakes), Edgar Alguera (San Jose Earthquakes)
Honduras (1): Douglas Martinez (Real Salt Lake)
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympic soccer qualifying 2021: US men's schedule, how to watch on TV