USMNT end Olympics drought, qualify for Paris 2024

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The USMNT will play at the Olympics for the first time in 16 years, as they qualified for Paris 2024 courtesy of a fine display from their U-20 side.

[ MORE: Full 2022 World Cup schedule ]

To repeat: for the first time since 2008 the U.S. men’s team will compete at the Olympics.

After reaching the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship courtesy of a 3-0 semifinal win over hosts Honduras, the USMNT youth side have now guaranteed themselves a spot at the Olympics in two years’ time to go along with already qualifying for the U20 2023 World Cup.

The U.S. face surprise package the Dominican Republic in the final on Sunday after they beat Guatemala (who dumped out Mexico in the quarterfinals) on penalty kicks in the other semifinal to claim their spot at the Olympics and they also reached the U20 2023 World Cup, both being their first-ever FIFA events as a soccer nation.

As for the USMNT, they can now look forward to being back in the Olympics and providing themselves with another big tournament experience ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home soil.

Who can play in the 2024 Olympics?

The 2024 Olympic men’s soccer tournament is a U-23 competition (players must be born on or after January 1, 2001 to compete) which will run from Jul. 24 to Aug. 10 in France.

Teams are allowed to have three overaged players in their squad. There will be 16 teams in the competition as hosts France, plus the USMNT and the Dominican Republic, are the first three teams to qualify for the tournament.

That sound you can already hear is the chatter surrounding whether or not the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and other stars of the senior team will play as overage players in 2024.

How did the USMNT qualify for Paris?

Focusing on the here and now head coach of the U.S. U-20 side, Michael Anthony Varas, hailed his young team for being ‘brave’ and ‘relentless’ as he revealed his pride at changing the poor history of failing to reach any of the last three Olympic games.

Paxten Aaronson (younger brother of Brendan) got the USMNT off to a perfect start as he scored just over two minutes in, then Alejandro Alvarado made it 2-0 and Quinn Sullivan added a third before half time as the U.S. were in cruise control.

Hosts Honduras battled hard but had no answer for the final-third quality of the young Americans.