Jason Kreis

2020 Olympics
Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

What does Olympics postponement mean for U.S. men?

Leave a comment

The postponement of Tokyo 2020 means the United States U-23 men and their loaded roster will have to wait for their chance to qualify for a first Olympics since 2008.

That’s not news, but who comprises the qualifying roster might be.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The cut-off birth date for the tournament was set for Jan. 1, 1997, but there’s some question as to whether the International Olympic Committee will move that forward a year or keep the original date.

Considering the amount of time coach Jason Kreis and U.S. Soccer have put into making this team a force, that’s a big question.

Who could the roster lose if the date gets moved to exclude 1997 birthdays? Jackson Yueill, Justen Glad, Erik Palmer-Brown, Sebastian Saucedo, Jeremy Ebobisse, JT Marcinkowski, Aaron Herrera, Hassani Dotson, and Jonathan Lewis.

That’s nine of the 20 Kreis named for qualifying. It would also removed injured or uncalled players like Antonee Robinson, Keaton Parks, Brooks Lennon, and Haji Wright.

It’s not a terrible worry, to be honest, because it does affect the field. Erick Aguirre, Cesar Montes, and Uriel Antuna are amongst 12 Mexican players who would miss the cut.

There will be also players 23-and-under who grow leaps and bounds as players in interim. It is, however, a worry.

If there’s a big winner, it’s probably Canada. Many of the key pieces for Mauro Biello’s Les Rouges are safe even if it’s moved to 1998.

Kreis: U.S. U-23 side can ‘put a flag down’ for USMNT

2020 Olympics
Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. U-23 men’s national team head coach Jason Kreis says his team has the potential to fuel the full national team into the right direction at a time it could really use a boost.’

The United States men have not qualified for the Olympics since 2008, and many view those failures as an obstacle in the mental development of the USMNT.

“It’s incredibly important,” Kreis said ahead of qualifying in Mexico. “It’s something that we want to correct and we want to correct it together. It’s a tremendous opportunity that stands in front of us, and a chance for us to have a positive rhetoric on the men’s side of U.S. Soccer.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

In Kreis, the U.S. Olympic team has a leader who’s turned out 14 times for the full national team and appreciates the import of the Summer Games.

Given the brutal failure of the USMNT to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the wealth of potential in the talent pool, Kreis says his men can deliver an invaluable experience on the road to the program’s success.

“There’s been a lot of doubting in the past two years, where the men’s side of the full national team and where we are going with all this,” Kreis told ProSoccerTalk. “I look at this group of young players and I’m really excited. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to put a flag down and say we are going in a positive direction.”

[ MORE: U.S. U-23 roster ]

Kreis also revealed that his side will friendly Haiti before CONCACAF Olympic qualifying begins versus Costa Rica on March 20. The U.S. will also face Mexico and the Dominican Republic in a tricky group.

The top two teams from each group make the semifinals, and the finalists earn automatic spots in Tokyo this summer.

Other notes:

  • Kreis said he’s not too bothered by European and MLS clubs who would not release players to his team: “There are clubs around the world and MLS that deny, but we knew that was going to happen. It is what it is. We are extremely happy with the squad we assembled.”
  • The goalkeeper pool of Matt Freese, JT Marcinkowski, and David Ochoa has a wide-open competition ahead of itself: “It’s a real interesting one and probably our most difficult decision.”
  • On Wolfsburg youngster Uly Llanez, “He made our roster through being in the January camp. We see a player who can help us in a number of areas,” Kreis said of Llanez.
  • San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill has taken a “mega step forward” and Kreis sees “his potential as top top.”

U.S. U-23 men learn group opponents for Olympic qualifying

Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States knows the opponents on its path to a first men’s Olympic berth since 2008.

Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica will be the Yanks’ group stage opponents between March 20-26 in Mexico.

Honduras, Haiti, Canada, and El Salvador comprise Group B.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Jason Kreis’ U-23 side will need to finish first or second in its group and then win its semifinal to clinch a spot in Tokyo 2020.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Richie Ledezma, and Jonathan Lewis were in Kreis’ last group of call-ups, while players like Miles Robinson, Josh Sargent, and Timothy Weah are among the eligible.

Andreas Herzog’s Yanks cruised through group play in 2015 before being stunned by Honduras in the semi, then losing a two-legged playoff with Colombia.

The U.S. didn’t even escape the group stage in 2012 under Caleb Porter.

Women’s qualifying begins Jan. 28 in the United States, the ladies facing Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti in group play.

U.S. U-23 boss Kreis calls up 24 including Ledezma, Carter-Vickers

Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images
Leave a comment

U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach Jason Kreis has called up 24 players to his latest camp as the Americans look to qualify for their first Olympics since 2008.

This group will represent the U.S. later this month at the United International Football Festival in Spain. The U.S. will face Brazil on Nov. 14 and then play Argentina or Chile on Nov. 17.

[ MORE: Americans Abroad ]

Five of the call-ups will join the U-23s after their time at senior camp, including Mark McKenzie, Brenden Aaronson, Jonathan Lewis, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jeremy Ebobisse.

Seven of the players play abroad, including Stoke City’s Cameron Carter-Vickers and PSV’s Richie Ledezma.

Kreis’ men blasted El Salvador 6-1 last month in Miami, with Ledezma scoring a goal and adding two assists while Jonathan Lewis had a goal and an assist.

Olympic qualifying is between March 20-April 1.

U.S. U-23 roster

Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Brady Scott (Koln)

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Christian Cappis (Hobro), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Mendez (Ajax), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), James Sands (New York City FC)

Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake), Mason Toye (Minnesota United)

U.S. U-23s have talent, experience to exorcise Olympic qualifying demons

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Let’s begin here: If the United States fails to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in men’s soccer, it should probably abandon the U-23 program.

That’s pretty haughty considering the Yanks have failed to qualify in three of the last four tournaments including the 2012 Games in the United Kingdom and 2016 edition in Brazil, but consider the talent on show for this March’s friendlies against Egypt and the Netherlands in Spain.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up v. Ecuador? ]

There are Bundesliga upstarts Josh Sargent and Haji Wright, not to mention Celtic’s Tim Weah. Chicago Fire midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is in the fold, as are defenders Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), and Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson.

And, oh yeah, they’ll get to add three Over-23 players while also potentially including several eligible players currently with the U-20s, full USMNT, or not called into March camp (Jonathan Lewis, Erik Palmer-Brown, Jonathan Amon, Luca de Torre). Even if the opposite happens and guys make the full USMNT or get injured, there’s depth here and plenty of it.

There have always been names when the Yanks have failed in qualifying, but hardly these degrees of depth and experience. In 2016 qualifying, Matt Miazga, Wil Trapp, and Emerson Hyndman were on the squad which couldn’t get the job done. 2012 saw Joe Gyau, Terrence Boyd, and Bill Hamid.

But this group could be special, favored not just to qualify but to rival others for a spot on the podium. The hiring of longtime MLS boss Jason Kreis to oversee the group is another good decision, and he’ll have this crop of players (and more) from which to select his lineups.

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose)

Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Jack Maher (Indiana University), Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United), Donovan Pines (DC United), Lucas Pos (Lausanne), Antonee Robinson (Wigan), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)

Midfielders: Derrick Jones (Philadelphia), Cameron Lindley (Orlando City), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Keaton Parks (NYCFC), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose)

Forward: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Josh Perez (LAFC), Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Tim Weah (Celtic), Haji Wright (Schalke).