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First Step Completed on the Road to Rio for U-23 MNT

The U.S. Men’s Under-23 National Team completed its first camp of the year this week, and looking beyond the two results achieved in the friendly matches played, things went as expected for U-23 MNT head coach Andreas Herzog.

"It was my first camp; the players had to get an idea of the new coaching staff, the philosophy and style of play," Herzog said following the second match of the camp against Denmark. "Every single one showed great effort, but that's normal. First of all, it’s the national team and it's a new coach. Everyone wants to make a good impression, so that's nothing that I wasn't expecting."

On March 22, Herzog called-in 18 players to participate in training camp, as the group began preparing for October's tournament that will qualify two CONCACAF teams to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. He later added two more players on March 24, and later added one more player when Jordan Morris was called into the senior MNT camp, thus rounding out the U-23 roster to 20. The camp, which ran from March 23-26, started in Bosnia. There, the U-23’s played the host nation on March 27, earning a 5-2 victory. They later traveled to Denmark, facing the Danes on March 31 in Copenhagen, falling 1-0 in the wrap-up match of the team’s European camp.

"We had a great result in Bosnia," Herzog said. "We made some mistakes too, but Bosnia didn’t punish us for our mistakes. I think we played against a real good Danish team with a lot of power. You could see right from the beginning they had a different power; the passing, the speed."

Midfielder Luis Gil, who captained the side in both matches, offered his viewpoint on the group from a players' perspective.

"It's our first camp together, so we're still getting used to all the players," said Gil. "It's great to have a group like this out here. Obviously we have some work to do. It's going to take some time, but the future is looking positive. We just have to take it step-by-step and I feel like we'll get there. We have a great coaching staff and great players. We just have to work."

Gil had three assists out of the five goals scored against Bosnia. While also active throughout the match in Copenhagen, the opponent proved too strong to break down.

"We played two completely different teams," he said in regards to the team’s friendlies. "It's difficult playing against a great team from Europe in Europe. I feel like we learned a lot from this, especially in the game against Denmark."

Herzog was not pleased with the team's overall performance in the loss to Denmark, singling out a few things.

"I think we had 60 minutes that we didn't play really well," Herzog said of the match in Copenhagen. "We didn't keep the ball and we were not confident enough. It was just a matter of time when they scored. And when we regained possession of the ball, we did not keep it for a while, so we didn't create anything. It was not a 50-50 game; it was more like 75 to 25 with a much better Danish team. 

"And then, the game changed in the opposite direction because we were the better team the final 30 minutes. We created four great chances. If you have a bad game but you still have four clear chances, you have to score. Overall, I have to give the players credit and compliment them. After a bad 60 minutes, we showed good character and fought our way back into the game and we should have tied the game."

One of the players Herzog is clearly counting on to play an important role moving forward on the year is Gil.

"He has to be a difference maker. With his quality I expect more, of course," Herzog said. "He had some good situations, like against Bosnia when he made some great passes which led to goals. He's an experienced guy. He's played a couple of years in MLS, so I expect from him to lead the team. He has to change the rhythm of the game with a lot of dynamic runs and sometimes with his great technique. He has to be confident in the number 10 position. Overall, all of us have to do an even better job in order to get to Rio."

Gil, who was a member of the U-20 MNT World Cup squad in 2013, is eager to show that he can help steer the team to the Olympics.

"This is the first time where I really get to be the leader of a team," he said. "I have to show more on the field and pick them up off the field. I have to be a leader for these guys. I have to push them harder and I feel that we'll be successful."

With the first camp in the books, Herzog won't have to wait long to see the group again. The team will face Mexico U-23’s at StubHub Center in Carson, California on April 22.

For the Herzog, it's another opportunity to continue working with the core players he expects to play come October.

"We already have our next game on April 22 against Mexico in LA, where hopefully we'll get most of the players together again so that we can develop our style," he said. "Hopefully, we get a good group together and we can beat Mexico."

Gallery: U-23 MNT Holds First Olympic Qualifying Prep Camp in Bosnia

The U-23 Men's National Team is holding its first training camp of 2015 ahead of Olympic qualifying this fall. The U-23's trip included a 5-2 win against Bosnia's U-21 side in Tuzla where the team has been based for a majority of the camp. Next up for the U-23's is a friendly against Denmark on March 31. Keep up with the U-23 MNT's camp and match against Denmark on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.  

U-23 MNT vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Highlights - March 27, 2015

The U-23 Men's National Team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-2 in Sarajevo as the team continues to tune up for Olympic Qualifying later this year.

U.S. U-23 MNT To Play Mexico U-23’s on April 22 in California


CHICAGO (March 28, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will face its counterpart Mexico on Wednesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. PT at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The game against its CONCACAF rival will serve as preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, to be held Oct. 1-13 in the USA.

Tickets for the U.S. U-23 MNT-Mexico match-up go sale to the public Thursday, April 2, at 10 a.m. PT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

The U.S. U-23 MNT is currently in the midst of its first training camp of 2015 in Europe. The camp marks the beginning of the team’s qualifying preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

After training from March 23-26 in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the U.S. played its first friendly of the year on March 27, defeating Bosnia 5-2, behind goals from Jordan Morris, Mario Rodriguez, Benji Joya, Alonso Hernandez and Fatai Alashe. The team next faces Denmark on Tuesday, March 31, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The U-23 MNT is led by head coach Andi Herzog, who has served as a Senior Men’s National Team assistant coach since 2011. Herzog’s assistants include John Hackworth, who serves as head coach of the U-15 Boys’ National Team, MNT scout Matthias Hamann and goalkeeper coach Memo Valencia.

Stay up-to-date with all the latest information on the U-23 MNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp.

U.S. U-23 MNT Opens Up 2015 with 5-2 Win Over Bosnia U-21s

TUZLA, Bosnia & Herzegovina (March 27, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team defeated Bosnia U-21's 5-2 in its first friendly of the year in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Five different players scored for the U.S. including, Jordan Morris, Mario Rodriguez, Benji Joya, Alonso Hernandez and Fatai Alashe, with Luis Gil assisting on three of the tallies.

The U.S. jumped to a 2-0 advantage early in the game after Morris converted from the top of the box following a pass form Gil in the eighth minute. Rodriguez notched the second thanks to an assist from Morris in the 14th.

Bosnia got into the score sheet with a goal in the 64th, but a foul in the box to Jerome Kiesewetter two minutes later, gave the U.S. a penalty kick that Benji Joya had no trouble converting for the 3-1 USA lead. Shortly after, Bosnia got its own call in the box and scored on a penalty kick to make it a 3-2 game.

The USA once again was able to distance itself as Hernandez received a missed shot from Gil that rebounded straight back to him to send it to the back of the net in the 78th. Finally, the U.S. sealed the deal when a perfectly placed corner from Gil went to the middle of the box and Alashe headed it home to secure the 5-2 victory. 

Next, the U-23 MNT will travel to Denmark to face Denmark U-23’s on Tuesday, March 31. The U.S. U-23 MNT is currently in its first training camp of 2015 in Europe. The camp marks the beginning of the team’s qualifying preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

For more updates, follow the U-23's on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-23 MNT v. Bosnia Herzegovina U-21 MNT
Date: March 27, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stadion Tusanj; Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (11 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 800
Weather: 49 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            2          3          5
BIH                             0          2          2             

USA – Jordan Morris (Luis Gil)                                  8th minute
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Jordan Morris)                    14
BIH – Nikola Jelisic                                                     64
USA – Benji Joya (penalty kick)                                 66
BIH – Armin Hodzic (penalty kick)                            72
USA – Alonso Hernandez (Luis Gil)                           78
USA – Fatai Alashe (Luis Gil)                                     86

Lineups:
USA: 12-Charlie Horton; 3-Boyd Okwuonu, 5-Will Packwood, 4-Shane O’Neill, 2-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (6-Christian Dean, 81); 17-Jerome Kiesewetter, 8-Benji Joya (16-Dan Metzger, 83), 10-Luis Gil (capt.), 7-Ariel Lassiter (13-Khiry Shelton, 61); 9-Jordan Morris (11-Alonso Hernandez, 74), 18-Mario Rodriguez (14-Fatai Alashe, 61)
Subs not used: 22-Tyler Miller
Not Dressed: 15-Alfred Koroma Shams, 20-Oscar Sorto
Head Coach: Andi Herzog

BIH: 1-Kenan Piric; 11-Adis Omerbasic, 6-Luka Miletic, 5-Renato Goikovic (17-Marko Mihoievic, 45), 4-Alem Merlaic; 14-Damir Sadikovic, 16-Nikola Jelisic, 10-Samir Radovac (23-Smail Prevljak, 74); 2-Kerim Memiia, 15-Fedor Predragovic (19-Amar Rahmanovic, 45), 9-Armin Hodzic (capt.) (8-Milos Satara, 81)
Subs not used: 7-Dzenan Burekovic, 12-Vedran Kiosevski, 13-Milos Acimovic, 18-Omar Markovic, 20-Semir Music, 21-Branimir Odak, 22-Nemanja Trkulja
Head Coach: Darko Nestorovic

Stats Summary: USA / BIH
Shots: 8 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 18 / 9
Offside: 0 / 1 

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Boyd Okwuonu (caution)                  55th minute
USA – Fatai Alashe (caution)                        63
BIH – Samir Radovac (caution)                     65
USA –Benji Joya (caution)                            71
BIH – Kerim Memiia (caution) 73

Officials:
Referee – Edin Jakupovic
Assistant 1 – Sreten Udovicic
Assistant 2 – Senad Ibrisimbegovic
Fourth Official – Elvedin Topuzovic

Herzog Calls 18 Players for U-23’s First Training Camp of 2015

CHICAGO (Mar. 22, 2015) – U.S. Under-23  Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has called 18 players to Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina, for the U-23’s first training camp of 2015 as the team begins its qualifying preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The team will train from March 23-26 and then face Bosnia’s U-23 National Team on Friday, March 27, in Tuzla, before travelling to face Denmark on Tuesday, March 31.                 

“We are about six months away from the Olympic qualifying tournament, and I think, for every single player, it’s a great chance and for every one of us on the staff a great opportunity. It starts right now with the first game in Bosnia,” said Herzog. “Every player has to show me that he wants to be part of this group, and that they understand how special it is to represent your country. We have an opportunity to build something special, and I hope everyone is as excited as I am.” 

The roster is laden with experience, as eight of the 18 players have were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team (Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, Wil Trapp). Gil, Trapp and Jordan Morris have also been capped at the senior team level.

This squad includes eight players that played a part in the U-23’s 5-1 win against the Bahamas last August, including Gil, Koroma Shams and Morris, who each scored in that match. Last time out in October, the U-23 squad fell 3-0 to Brazil in a friendly match that was part of a larger training camp held in Brasilia. 

Herzog has served as a Senior Men’s National Team assistant coach since 2011. This camp will be his first as head coach of the U-23 team. Herzog’s assistants include John Hackworth, who serves as head coach of the U-15 Boys’ National Team, MNT scout Matthias Hamann, and goalkeeper coach Memo Valencia.

Fans can follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt and @ussoccer_esp. 

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Charlie Horton (Cardiff City; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Ariel Lassiter (LA Galaxy II; Temecula, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Alonso Hernandez (Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC; Leander, Texas)

ROSTER NOTES:  

  • In the last four Olympic cycles, nearly half of the players that appeared in qualifying or in the final tournament went on to appear for the Senior Team. The breakdown by cycle: 2000 (14), 2004 (13), 2008 (13), 2012 (9)
  • Major League Soccer contributes the most players, sending seven total to Europe. In addition, USL Pro and the NCAA send a pair each. The breakdown by country: United States (11), Germany (3), Mexico (3), England (2)
  • Luis Gil, Jordan Morris and Wil Trapp have all earnedone cap with the senior MNT since the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • Eight of the 18 players called for U-23 camp were part of Tab Ramos’ 2013 U-20 World Cup squad: Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, and Trapp. The U-20 MNT played eventual tournament champion France to a 1-1 draw and also faced Spain and Ghana in group play. During the tournament in Turkey, Gil scored against Spain and O’Neill against Ghana. Gil started all three matches of the tournament while O’Neil started the final two
  • Eight players were also in attendance at last year’s U-23 October camp: Christian Dean, Alonso Hernandez, Charlie Horton, Morris, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Will Packwood, Mario Rodriguez, and Oscar Sorto
  • Seven of 18 players hail from the state of California, an additional three from Texas and two from Ohio

THREE'S CAMPANY

March 2015 is the curtain raiser on a busy cycle for the men’s side of the U.S. National Team program.

And USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will use the March friendlies at Denmark and Switzerland as prep for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, while also wearing his other hat as Technical Director as he helps oversee a busy time for the U.S. U-20 and U-23 MNT sides that will hold simultaneous European camps at the end of the month.

Beginning preparations for CONCACAF Olympic qualification in October, USMNT assistant coach Andi Herzog convenes his first camp in charge of the U-23 side ahead of games at Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 27) and Denmark (March 31). Meanwhile, having recently qualified for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, U-20 head coach Tab Ramos will bring his team to England for a pair of matches against the England U-21s and Tottenham Hotspur U-21s.

“For the youngsters to look towards the U-20 World Cup is huge,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “For the U-23s, we have to get them going in order to prepare for the qualifiers later this year towards the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Andi Herzog has his hands full with that group. For me and the Senior Team perspective, I’m looking at all these youngsters and thinking who can come through these periods and develop the fastest possible in order to make himself a strong competitor for the senior group. So this is a great time now, and we can’t wait to get these games going at the end of the month.”

BREAKING DOWN THE ROSTERS

 The balance has a telling diversity among the 62 players that have been summoned.

  • Twenty players representing 12 different MLS clubs have been called across the three rosters, while another 30 players from clubs in Germany (11), England (10) and Mexico (9) add to the bulk of the call-ups.
  • Nine of the 18 players called for U-23 camp were part of Tab Ramos’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup squad: Luis Gil, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Eric Miller, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Shane O’Neill, Mario Rodriguez, Oscar Sorto, and Wil Trapp.
  • U-23 call-ups Luis Gil, Jordan Morris and Wil Trapp have also already played for the Senior National Team.
  • Five of the U-20 call-ups were part of the U.S. U-17 World Cup qualifying campaign in 2013: Jeff Caldwell, Conor Donovan, Junior Flores, Shaquell Moore and John Requejo.
 

With all three camps taking place at the same time, the understanding between the three coaches, all of whom worked together at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been key as Klinsmann has continued to develop a structure that works not only for the senior team but helps develop players that will one day play for it.

“In terms of style of play, it’s the same approach that Jurgen has and what Tab Ramos has done with the U-20s,” Herzog said in regards to coaching the U-23s. “We all work together with the senior team. For this group, I want to have a team where there are a lot of variations. We want to be attack-minded, keep possession, and have the whole team proactively working to win the ball back as soon as possible.”

Though just beginning the U-23 cycle, with the previous team missing out on qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Herzog said the task of getting the team to Rio next year begins with his new side understanding the playing philosophy being handed down this initial camp.

“It’s a big goal, and I think it will be really important to start from the first session to get the players into this philosophy.”

Beyond ensuring a similar playing style, the understanding has perhaps been most important when figuring out how to balance three different rosters with players that could go between two different teams.

 “It’s all very clear,” Ramos told ussoccer.com. “Jurgen and I have had a conversation to make sure that we put all things in the right places as we’re moving forward. Obviously having three National Teams go to camp at the same time is not easy.  We don’t all get the players we need at times, and it’s not easy on the clubs because MLS doesn’t stop for the FIFA dates and we’re at times asking for a bunch of players from the same team. We try not to deplete any one club at one time so the conversations between Jurgen, Andi and me as he passes down the information have to be very clear. We’ve done that, we’re all on the same page and I think it’s going to go smoothly.”

A past member of U.S. U-17 and U-20 World Championship squads as well as the 2008 Olympic team, U.S. senior international Jozy Altidore spoke to the value of these experiences for players who are beginning to develop international careers.

“It’s great to be involved at these levels because you get exposed to different types of teams,” said Altidore. “You see early how competitive it is, and how good the up and coming players are. Even getting used to things like travel is valuable. Dealing with all the elements of being an international player helps you get used to it and it becomes less of an issue as you progress, because it doesn’t get any easier. All these things prepare you for what’s to come.”

Altidore joins Beijing 2008 teammates Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco for USMNT camp this month, while another six of the senior players called in have represented the U.S. at various youth World Cups or in qualifying.

“These are important experiences,” continued Altidore. “A lot of the things you see at that level can prepare you for when you make the jump to the senior team, so these guys should take it seriously and get the most of out of it.”

Q&A: U-23 MNT Head Coach Andi Herzog Gears Up for First Training Camp of 2015

Recently appointed U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog sat down with ussoccer.com to speak about the team's upcoming training camp in Europe that will feature matches against Boznia and Denmark.

ussoccer.com: As you get this group together for the first time as head coach, the scheduling comes at an interesting moment with both the Senior Team and the U-20 team also playing. How did you work through putting together the roster?

Andi Herzog: “This was a bit of a puzzle. There are players from our pool that also fit in with the Senior Team, and also with the U-20 team. Overall I’m really happy that most of the players were released from the clubs in MLS, Europe and Mexico, so I think that we have a great group together and we can look forward to having two great games in Europe.

ussoccer.com: You have two very different and challenging opponents with Bosnia and Denmark. What do you like about these games?

AH: “It’s two different mentalities because Denmark is one of the best seven teams in Europe right now. They qualified for the European U-21 Championship that is coming up in May and June in the Czech Republic, so I think it will be a real tough game for us and I think a great, great challenge for our players. Bosnia is more like most of the teams from the Balkans, a more a technical team.”

ussoccer.com: This is your first camp as head coach with this group. What are some of the messages that you want to give to this team?

AH: “We are about six months away from the Olympic qualifying tournament, but I think it’s for every single player, a great chance, and for every one of us on the staff, a great opportunity, and it starts right now with the first game in Bosnia. Every player has to show me that he wants to be part of this group, and that they understand how special it is to represent your country. We have an opportunity to build something special, and I hope everyone is as excited as I am.”

ussoccer.com:  You previously coached the Austrian U-21 National Team. How will that experience help you in this role?

AH: “I think it’s great for me. It’s an advantage because I already know the strengths and weaknesses of this age group. It’s really fun for me and makes me really proud to get the opportunity to lead our team to the qualification and then to the Olympics. I think we are all convinced that we will get to Brazil, and like I said, it starts already in Bosnia. Hopefully we can improve from game to game as the team gets used to my philosophy.”

ussoccer.com: Your philosophy is obviously similar to that of Jurgen Klinsmann and Tab Ramos. How would you describe the approach to style of play?

AH: “In terms of style of play, it’s the same approach that Jurgen has and what Tab Ramos has done with the U-20s. We all work together with the Senior Team. I want to have a team where there are a lot of variations. We want to be attack-minded, keep possession, and have the whole team proactively working to win the ball back as soon as possible. It’s a big goal, and I think it will be really important to start from the first session to get the players into this philosophy.”

 ussoccer.com: As you examine the pool, can you already identify potential leaders?

AH: “We’ll see. For this camp, there are two or three players who were already playing for the first team like Luis Gil and Wil Trapp. Obviously there are players who played in the World Cup in Brazil that will have an important role. There will be times when they are with Jurgen, and other guys, who will be with Tab in the U-20 World Cup. When you add in the Gold Cup, which is important for the senior team, it’s a lot of activity. The good thing is that those are all great experiences. I think that we have a great group together and the main goal is to play the qualification at home in a really, really good way.”

ussoccer.com: Your assistant coaches include John Hackworth, who knows the U.S. players and system incredibly well, and Matthias Hamann who scouts Europe.  It seems like you have a lot of good support in scouting and identifying players.

AH: “We have a great coaching staff together. John knows everyone in MLS and the college ranks and the other leagues around North America. Matthias knows a lot of the young players in Europe from Germany and from England. It’s a big support for me, and I look forward to working with these guys and having success.”

ussoccer.com: What have been your priorities since you took over this role?

AH: “I’ve been traveling a lot through Europe and watching all of the players from my team and also from the first team, so it’s a lot of scouting and a lot of good games.  Our staff has been looking at the player pool closely and trying to map the different opportunities we will have to get guys together. As I said before, with all the games for Jurgen and the U-20 World Cup this summer, it’s going to be a puzzle. On the positive side, we will get the chance to look at a variety of players. We’ve been working on getting quality games, and we have some fantastic opportunities coming up this spring and summer. We’re definitely on the right track.”

USA to Host CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship

CHICAGO (Feb. 12, 2015) – The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) today announced that the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.

The tournament will feature eight nations divided into two groups of four, with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play advancing to the semifinals. The countries that advance to the final will earn an automatic berth to the Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, while the third-place finisher will advance to a playoff against Colombia for one additional spot.

Host venues and ticketing information for the competition will be announced at a later date.

“The Olympic Qualifying Championship provides an ideal stage for CONCACAF nations to demonstrate the bright future the Confederation holds on the field,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “We look forward to some great soccer as the competing nations strive to match our historic Olympic performances three years ago in England from Honduras, and of course Mexico, the 2012 Olympic Champion.”

The Olympic Qualifying Championship kicks off Oct. 1, with group play continuing through Oct. 7. The final match day for both groups, as well as the semifinal date, third-place match and the final, all fall within the FIFA match date window scheduled for Oct. 5-13, meaning all nations will be able to call on their top players worldwide for the decisive phase of the championship.

The qualifying tournament will include host USA, as well as North American automatic qualifiers Canada and Mexico. Those three countries will be joined by three nations from the Central American region and two from the Caribbean, with qualifiers in those regions to be disputed in coming months.

“We are looking forward to hosting the Olympic Qualifying Championship and showcasing the quality of soccer in the region,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes from across North, Central America and the Caribbean compete for the opportunity to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games.”

The final tournament schedule and kickoff times will be set following the qualifying tournaments in Central America and the Caribbean.

The United States also hosted the previous CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, in 2012, when matches were hosted in Kansas City, Los Angeles and Nashville.

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