U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Caleb Porter has named a 20-player training camp roster that includes FC Dallas forward Brek Shea to convene March 13 to begin final preparations for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.
The 20-player roster will be finalized March 20, the due date for all participating teams to submit their rosters to CONCACAF. The U.S. will compete in Group A which kicks off March 22 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
“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. “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 most 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.”
A total of 13 players on the roster come from MLS clubs, with D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union each contributing a pair. Freddy Adu is the only player with previous experience in qualifying, having scored four goals in three appearances during the 2008 tournament. FC Dallas forward Brek Shea, who has appeared in all 10 of the U.S. Men’s National Team matches under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, was the 2011 U.S. Young Male Athlete of the Year and is coming off a strong season with FC Dallas that included MLS Best XI recognition and a nomination for MLS Most Valuable Player.
The development of these players throughout this cycle has been done in collaboration with the work of U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, continuing the process of having vertically integrated National Team programs.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for these young players to get valuable experience in international competition and ultimately qualify for the 2012 Olympics," said Klinsmann, who won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. "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."
CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying begins on March 22, with Group A games being played at LP Field in Nashville and Group B games at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The USA was drawn into Group A with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador, while Group B is composed of Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.
The semifinal and final matches will be played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on March 31 and April 2, respectively. Individual tickets are on sale for the games in Nashville and Carson, and series tickets are available for the knockout phase in Kansas City.