KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, September 22, 2015
U.S. Under-23 national team head coach Andi Herzog has named his 20-man roster for next month's CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship.
The U.S. has been drawn into Group A and will play their first two games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, against Canada and Cuba on Oct. 1 and 3 respectively. They will conclude group play on Oct. 6 with a game against Panama at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
According to Herzog, it was a difficult task to persuade club teams to release the players he wanted for the tournament. However, he is looking forward to the challenge of guiding the team to qualifying for the Olympics.
"For us it was important that we find the right balance between attacking players and defensive-minded players," he said on the U.S. Soccer website. "Because there are no FIFA dates for the first week of the tournament, there were challenges in getting players released. We had discussions with a lot of teams, and while some clubs didn't release their players overall we received a lot of support, especially from MLS. There was a lot of competition for spots. Of course a few players will be disappointed that they didn't make the roster and I understand, but we can only have 20 players on the roster and only17 field players, so they weren't easy decisions. Now we have to be focused on the games and we have to win."
The United States will be looking to make their return to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Their best finish in Olympic soccer is fourth place at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.
Goalkeepers: Charlie Horton (Leeds United), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Zack Steffen (Freiburg)
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), William Packwood (Unattached), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders: Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers)
Forwards: Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Maki Tall (FC Sion)