The U.S. Olympic men’s soccer qualifying roster, bidding to earn the program’s first Olympic berth since 2008, includes 15 players from MLS franchises.
The team of 20 is restricted to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997. Furthermore, clubs are not required to release players for youth tournaments such as Olympic qualifying. Plus, the U.S. senior national team has matches coinciding with the Olympic qualifying tournament that runs March 20-April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
That meant the U.S.’ biggest star, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, was never likely to be named to the Olympic qualifying roster, even though he is age eligible. Pulisic’s name was not on a 50-player provisional roster announced two weeks ago, nor the roster announced Sunday night.
The team does include 10 players with senior national team experience set to play for coach Jason Kreis.
Similar to U.S. women’s Olympic qualifying, the men must win a March 30 CONCACAF tournament semifinal to get to Tokyo.
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).
Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union)
J.T. Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas)
Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven)
Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake)
Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien)
Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union)
Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United)
Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven)
Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire)
Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)
Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids)
Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg)
Sebastian Saucedo (UNAM Pumas)
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