Zimmerman, Robinson headline U.S. Olympic team

Colorado Rapids midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, FC Cincinnati defender Miles Robinson and Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman headline the 18-player roster for the United States men’s Olympic team named Monday by manager Marko Mitrović.

The men’s Olympic soccer tournament is restricted to players under the age of 23, but it does allow for three “overage” players. Mihailovic, Robinson and Zimmerman will fill each of those spots. The remainder of the roster comprises players born on or after Jan. 1, 2001.

This summer’s tournament in Paris marks the first time that the U.S. men have qualified for the Olympics since 2008.

The roster is also bolstered by midfielders Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann, both of whom helped lead Venezia in its successful bid to gain promotion to Italy’s Serie A last season.

“Today is a special day for us. We announced our roster and we are excited to go to the Olympic Games,” Mitrović said. “We are going there after 16 years [of not qualifying] on the men’s side, but also we are very excited that we are going to be together with our women’s team after almost two decades.”

For Zimmerman, it’s a day that he thought had passed him by when as a U23 player back in 2016, the U.S. men failed to qualify.

“Obviously, as an overage player on the men’s side, my cycle, we didn’t qualify and that’s when I thought my dream is over. I won’t have the chance to play in the Olympics,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “And then as things materialized later this year, just getting this opportunity is amazing. It’s something I’ve always watched growing up, something I’ve always wanted to participate in. And again, I thought that was over and so I’m just excited and can’t wait to get going in France.”

Because the Olympics don’t qualify as an official FIFA competition, club teams aren’t required to release players for the tournament.

“We all know that it was actually a really difficult process in the last eight to 10 months, first talking to the clubs and trying to get all the players released,” said Mitrović. “Yes, there was challenges, but however we’d end up [it was] with the roster that we really believe that can represent us in the best possible way. And I feel very, very good about team that is going to the Paris.”

That explains, in part, why the vast majority of players from the USMNT who just competed in the Copa América aren’t on the roster. Robinson is the lone exception.

Those limitations presented a challenge for Mitrović in terms of constructing the roster. But of those players that were named, 15 of the 18 have made appearances for the full U.S. men’s national team, with Zimmerman, a veteran of the 2022 World Cup squad, leading the way with 42 appearances.

Ten of the players are currently contracted with MLS clubs, with the remainder playing in Europe.

The last U.S. team to participate, in 2008, was led by former USMNT stalwarts Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. They narrowly missed out on qualifying for the medal round.

This time around, the U.S. men qualified by virtue of winning the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship. From that team, only the Philadelphia Union’s Jack McGlynn and FC Utrecht’s Paxten Aaronson made the final Olympic squad.

All of the U.S.’s group stage games in the 16-team tournament will be played in Marseille, with the opener taking place on July 24 — two days before the opening ceremony — against the host country France.

That will be followed by matches against New Zealand on July 27, followed by the group stage finale against Guinea three days later.

If the U.S. qualifies for the medal round, it will play the quarterfinals in either Paris or Bordeaux.

The semifinals will be held in Marseille and Décines-Charpieu — just outside of Lyon. The final will be held in Paris on Aug. 9 with the bronze medal match being held in Nantes a day earlier.

The U.S. will prepare for the Games in Bordeaux at the home of Ligue 2 side Bordeaux from July 9-20 before moving to Marseille ahead of its opening match.


Goalkeepers (2): Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew; St. Charles, Missouri), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Ill.)

Defenders (6): Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Furth/GER; Frankfurt, Germany), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; Oldsmar, Florida), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; Arlington, Massachusetts), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, New Jersey), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; Lawrenceville, Georgia)

Midfielders (5): Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; Greensboro, North Carolina), Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami CF; Key Biscayne, Florida), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; New York), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids; Jacksonville, Florida), Tanner Tessmann (Venezia/ITA; Birmingham, Alabama)

Forwards (5): Paxten Aaronson (FC Utrecht/NED; Medford, New Jersey), Taylor Booth (FC Utrecht/NED; Eden, Utah), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City SC; Omaha, Nebraska), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Virginia), Griffin Yow (KVC Westerlo/BEL; Clifton, Virginia)

Alternates (4): Josh Atencio (Midfielder, Seattle Sounders FC; Bellevue, Washington), Jacob Davis (Defender, Sporting Kansas City; Rochester, Michigan), Johan Gomez (Forward, Eintracht Braunschweig/GER; Keller, Texas), John Pulskamp (Goalkeeper, Sporting Kansas City; Bakersfield, California)

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