We’re still not entirely sure if the Tokyo Summer Olympics will actually be held sometime in 2021, but with Concacaf yet to establish their men’s soccer representatives for the Olympic tournament, a qualifying tournament has finally been announced.
The confederation is planning to hold the men’s qualifying tournament Mar. 18-31 in Guadalajara, with all teams going down to the Mexican city to play in a soft bubble similar to the set-up for the recent Concacaf Champions League tournament which wrapped up in Orlando in December.
The United States have been drawn into a tough group, alongside the host side Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. The other group features Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti. After group play will be the knockout rounds, and the two teams that win in the semifinal round will book their tickets to the Olympic tournament.
The U.S. haven’t played in the Olympics since 2008, and the national team program has increasingly tried to make this push for the Olympics a more robust one. Expect a fairly strong group in qualifying.
And that will most likely include San Jose Earthquakes representation. Jackson Yueill has been tabbed to be a key player for the U-23 squad and JT Marcinkowski has a good shot to be in the mix and perhaps starting in defense.
Add to that, Cade Cowell was called up to the current U-23 training camp, playing well up from his age group as a 17-year-old, so maybe he would get the call as well if he’s impressing in the current camp. And Eric Calvillo could get the nod to play for El Salvador in the tournament, after he committed to the country recently.
Of course, we still have no idea when the MLS season will start, so the Olympic qualifying tournament may interfere with Earthquakes games, or it may not. Of course, given the state of the world, we all know now that we can’t take anything for granted, so we’ll just see what happens with MLS, Earthquakes players, and the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament.
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