Which U.S. men’s soccer players on FIFA World Cup roster are Olympic age eligible?

Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna
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For the first time in modern U.S. men’s soccer history (post-1950), the World Cup roster includes zero Olympians.

That’s not a surprise, given the U.S. last fielded an Olympic men’s soccer team in 2008.

But, the U.S. did qualify for the 2024 Paris Games, and every U.S. Olympic men’s soccer team in the last 30 years did include at least one player from the previous World Cup.

1990 World Cup players who made 1992 Barcelona Olympic team: Chris Henderson
1994 World Cup players who made 1996 Atlanta Olympic team: Alexi Lalas, Claudio Reyna, plus Kasey Keller from 1990 World Cup
1998 World Cup players who made 2000 Sydney Olympic team: Jeff Agoos, Brad Friedel, Frankie Hejduk
U.S. did not qualify for 2004 Athens Olympics.
2006 World Cup players who made 2008 Beijing Olympic team: Brian McBride
U.S. did not qualify for 2012, 2016, 2020 Olympics.

Olympic men’s soccer has largely been for players 23 years and younger in that span. Since 1996, teams have been allowed three over-age exceptions, which is how most of the World Cup players listed above made it back for the following Olympics.

For the 2024 Paris Games, Olympic men’s soccer rosters must be made up of players born on or after Jan. 1, 2001, with three over-age exceptions.

On the World Cup roster of 26 announced Wednesday, three players were born after Jan. 1, 2001: midfielder Yunus Musah, forward Gio Reyna and defender Joe Scally. All three could make the Olympic team of 18 without using any over-age exception.

(Had the U.S. qualified for the Tokyo Games, then 15 players on the 26-player World Cup roster would have been age eligible for those Games without using an over-age exception, and the entire expected U.S. starting XI at the World Cup could have been on a Tokyo Olympic team with exhausting those exceptions.)

If past rules remain, their club teams would have to release them to play in the Olympics, which could get tricky if there are separate senior international matches that summer for which clubs are forced to release players.

Looking beyond Musah, Reyna and Scally, every U.S. Olympic team in the over-age exception era has used one of those exceptions on a goalie with senior national team experience (Keller in 1996, Friedel in 2000 and Brad Guzan in 2008).

That makes the three goalies on the World Cup roster — Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson — prime Olympic candidates, too, with the same club-release caveat for the aforementioned age-eligible players.

There’s also a chance that Gabriel Slonina, an 18-year-old prospect, is deemed the first-choice Olympic keeper, in which case there would be less incentive to use an over-age pick on a backup goalie.

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Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
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The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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