The United States Under-23 soccer team aims to make up for past disappointments, coach Jason Kreis said on Monday as his team gathered in Mexico for a training camp ahead of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
With the Americans having already earned their places at the rescheduled Tokyo Games this year, the men will try to do the same and qualify for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics if they can reach the final of the competition on the 18th. to March 30.
“I see this as an opportunity, I presented to the guys that we have a chance not to rewrite history but to take a big step forward,” Kreis said, during a media call from Guadalajara.
“I don’t think any of us should feel really responsible for what happened four years ago, eight years ago, none of us was part of it.
“What it is to me is just a fair bit of wrongs.”
The United States opens against Costa Rica on March 18, then faces the Dominican Republic on March 21 before concluding the Group A match against Mexico on March 24.
Group B includes Canada, Honduras, Haiti and El Salvador.
The top two from each group advance to the semi-finals, with the winners of both competitions securing tickets to Tokyo.
Originally scheduled for last year, the qualifying tournament has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, the US team will look very different from what could have been selected.
Most of the 31 players called up this time around were from Major League Soccer rosters with just five based outside the United States.
Eight players from the 20-person squad named last year are not at Guadalajara.
Another notable absentee is peerless Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez, 18, who is eligible to play for Mexico and the United States and, according to Kreis, is not yet ready to play. ” be part of a single national team.
Galaxy’s Jonathan Klinsmann, son of former German international and World Cup winner Juergen, is one of the team’s four goalkeepers looking for an Olympic berth.
“The team feels different in a lot of ways,” said Kreis, who will reduce his squad to 20 players by March 15. “There are a lot of players who weren’t available this year and who were available last year.
“At the end of the day, maybe it looks a little different from a high-end point of view. At the end of the day, I’m still very happy with the level of talent we have.
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