For the first time in modern American men’s soccer history (post-1950), the World Cup roster does not include any Olympians.
That’s no surprise, considering the United States last fielded a men’s Olympic soccer team in 2008.
But the United States did qualify for the Paris 2024 Games, and every U.S. men’s Olympic soccer team in the past 30 years has included at least one player from the previous World Cup.
1990 World Cup players who made Barcelona’s Olympic team in 1992: Chris Henderson
1994 World Cup players who made Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic team: Alexis Lalas, Claudio Reinamore Kasey Keller since the 1990 world cup
1998 World Cup players who made the 2000 Sydney Olympic team: Jeff Agoos, Brad Fridel, Frankie Hejduk
The United States did not qualify for the Athens Olympics in 2004.
2006 World Cup players who made the Beijing 2008 Olympic team: Brian McBride
The United States did not qualify for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics.
Olympic men’s soccer was largely restricted to players 23 and under during this period. Since 1996, teams have been allowed three overage exceptions, which is how most of the World Cup players listed above returned for subsequent Olympics.
For the Paris 2024 Games, Olympic men’s football teams must be made up of players born on or after January 1, 2001, with three exceptions.
On the list of 26 for the World Cup announced on Wednesdaythree players were born after January 1, 2001: midfielder Yunous Musahforward Gio Reina and defender Joe Scally. All three could make the 18-year-old Olympic team without using an overage exception.
(If the United States had qualified for the Tokyo Games, then 15 players on the 26-player World Cup roster would have been eligible for those Games without using an overage exception, and the set of the US starting XI expected at the World Cup could have been in a Tokyo Olympic team with exhaustion of 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 this summer for which clubs are forced to release players.
Beyond Musah, Reyna, and Scally, every U.S. Olympic team in the senior exception era used one of these exceptions on a goaltender with senior national team experience (Keller in 1996 , Friedel in 2000 and Brad Guzan In 2008).
That makes the three goalkeepers on the World Cup roster — Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson – top Olympic contenders as well, with the same caveat regarding release from the club for age-eligible players mentioned above.
There is also a chance that Gabriel Sloninaan 18-year-old prospect, is considered the first-choice Olympic keeper, in which case he would have less incentive to use an older pick on a backup goalie.
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