U.S. men's national team veterans Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu headline a strong 19-man roster for the U.S. Men's Olympic Qualifying squad.
U.S. Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter announced the team on Monday and the only real surprise was the omission of Hertha Berlin midfielder/defender Alfredo Morales, whose release was not mandatory for the tournament.
Here is the squad:
U.S. OLYMPIC QUALIFYING ROSTER
GK- Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson
D- Josh Gatt, Perry Kitchen, Ike Opara, Zarek Valentin, Kofie Sarkodie, Jorge Villafana
M- Freddy Adu, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Michael Stephens, Amobi Okugo, Jared Jeffrey
F- Terrence Boyd, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, Joe Gyau, Teal Bunbury
Another notable omission from the roster is midfielder Dilly Duka, but he suffered an injury in the early moments of the Columbus Crew's season-opening loss to the Colorado Rapids.
According to a U.S. Soccer press release, one player, presumably Duka, withdrew from consideration on Monday afternoon after sustaining an injury. Porter is expected to find a replacement once he secures a release from that player's club. The two favorites to round out the roster before the March 20 deadline are Morales and West Ham United midfielder Sebastian Lletget.
Boyd, who made his debut with the full U.S. team last month, will report to camp on March 21.
"Obviously, our mission is to qualify for the 2012 summer Olympics and this roster is a culmination of a long process to select what we feel is the best team this country has to offer in the U-23 age group," said Porter in the press release. "For the past four training camps we have been comprehensively evaluating the most talented personnel available from an extensive player pool comprised of professional players on clubs in this country and abroad.
"We always keep in mind its important to find the best mix collectively so that we can build a cohesive team capable of accomplishing our goal. I feel very confident in this collection of players and their ability to execute the playing style we believe will best represent their talents and get us to London."
The United States will kick off its Olympic qualifying campaign on March 22 in Nashville, Tenn against Cuba. The Americans follow that up with a game against Canada two days later, and they finish group play versus El Salvador on March 26.
Should the U.S. team advance out of Group A, the decisive match to determine if it qualifies for the Olympics would be on March 31 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for these young players to get valuable experience in international competition and ultimately qualify for the 2012 Olympics," U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in the press release. "Playing the Olympic Games is a once in a lifetime chance, and we are fully supporting their efforts to qualify.
"Some of these players will continue their international careers on the senior team in the future, and these situations allow them the chance to grow individually and experience the ups and downs national teams go through, which is so important for their development."
What do you think of this team? Who are you disappointed to see missing from the squad? Who are you excited to see play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament?
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