FRISCO, Texas – After a successful day of training on Tuesday, which included small-sided scrimmages and some friendly soccer tennis, FC Dallas Homegrowns Reggie Cannon and Paxton Pomykal took time to speak about their upcoming Olympic qualifying campaign. With a ticket to Tokyo on their minds, the call-up meant a lot.
“It’s the Olympics,” Pomykal said. “Everyone in the U.S. grows up watching that. It’s a prideful thing for Americans and to be able to represent the U.S. and possibly qualify for a tournament like that is a dream come true.”
Jesus Ferreira, who made his USMNT debut against Costa Rica during the January training camp, will also join his teammates in Mexico, as head coach Jason Kreis looks to guide his youthful side back into the Olympics for the first time since 2008.
"To represent [the U.S.] with my boys here is even more special," Pomykal said.
Cannon, the most senior member of the U.S. Men’s National Team out of the three with 11 caps, sees the opportunity as a valuable learning lesson in his young international career.
“[Gregg Berhalter] reached out to me and told me about the responsibility I have with that team,” Cannon said. “There’s going to be a lot of young players. With my role on the National Team, I want to be able to help and make them feel included because it’s going to be a tough process.”
The team kicks off its campaign against Costa Rica on Mar. 20, followed by the Dominican Republic on Mar. 23 and Mexico on Mar. 26. It is certainly a challenging group, but for guys like Cannon and Pomykal, it presents an excellent opportunity to gain experience in tense qualifying matches.
“This is what World Cup qualifying is like,” Cannon said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to prepare myself to play in tough conditions [and] play against opponents away. It’s going to be a great challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Before heading out to join Ferreira, who already departed, Cannon and Pomykal will first focus in on this weekend’s match against New York City FC. The game kicks off at 11:30 AM (12:30 PM Eastern Time) on Saturday.