What Will the Olympics Bring to US Men’s Soccer?

The United States under-23 Olympics squad is set to face France, Guinea, and New Zealand in what could be a medal run for Marko Mitrović’s side. Here, we review some of the key players and possible snubs from the pre-roster.

The under-23 men’s national teams are ready to take center stage at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. It will be the first time since 2008 that the United States will return to Olympic soccer in the men’s category. In the Beijing games, the U.S. went 1-1-1 and was eliminated in the first round. Eventual winners Argentina fielded the likes of Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, and Angel Di Maria.

Unlike Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, who has been coaching the U-20s since 2021, the U.S. Olympic program has been passed around to coaches with distinct personalities and styles including Caleb Porter, Tab Ramos, Andreas Herzog, Jason Kreis, and now Marko Mitrović.

To many across the world, the Olympic gold is a nice feather on the cap — there’s plenty of pride that comes with winning, but it’s still not quite considered a major international competition. For the U.S., given the nation’s culture of consuming the Olympic games, coverage centers around stories rather than actual competition. A deep run can only shine a light on the growing sport of soccer.

Below are a few names to keep an eye on who can really make a name for themselves at the Summer Olympics if finally called upon, along with a couple names who surprisingly didn’t make the final pre-Olympics roster.

Players to Watch

Patrick Schulte: The Columbus Crew goalkeeper has a lot of qualities and is being scouted by many teams in Europe. Still just 23, Schulte could have a breakout tournament that may lead to a massive career boost.

Gianluca Busio: He should really be with the U.S. men’s national team for Copa America, yet it looks like Busio will have to settle for the Olympics. He’s shown dynamic and intelligent qualities with Venezia, and when he’s alongside players at or above his level, he knows how to contribute.

Tanner Tessmann: Busio’s club teammate with Venezia, Tessmann has grown a lot in Italy playing in Serie B. A bubble player for the U.S., a good Olympic games might lead to a rise in stock for the midfielder and more chances with the senior squad.

Kevin Paredes: Still finding his feet in the Bundesliga, Paredes is coming off a much better season with Wolfsburg. Now, can he take it up a notch at the national team level?

Rokas Pukstas: With clubs from West Ham, Manchester United, and Aston Villa looking at the 19-year-old midfielder, Pukstas has grown a lot playing for a club like Hajduk Split in Croatia. Dynamic and quick, the U.S. could have a baller on their hands.

Possible Snubs

Brian Gutiérrez: For all intents and purposes, Gutiérrez should be going to the Olympics. He has a lot of technical skill that is being wasted playing for the train wreck Chicago Fire.

Diego Luna: The Real Salt Lake midfielder is an enigma to U.S. Soccer — a stocky, deliberate, yet talented player who does not fit the mold of the pacy, athletic, worker bee. Luna is more of a dribbler, a creator, a player who makes something out of nothing. Issues between the midfielder and the manager have been made public, but can the U.S. really afford to keep him home?

Leave a Reply