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U23 USYNT 2024 Olympics Roster Analysis

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July 2024
The United States is going to be participating in Olympic Soccer for the first time since 2008. Head coach Marko Mitrović has selected 18 players and four alternatives to compete in the 16 team tournament. The Olympics are an amateur, U23 soccer tournament that allows three players of any age to participate. The United States are in a group with hosts France, New Zealand and Guinea with the top two teams from the  group advancing to the knockout rounds. The United States open with France on July 24th and then play New Zealand on the 27th and Guinea on the 30th.
Tanner Tessmann, defensive-mid for Venezia

Roster analysis


Patrick Schulte, Columbus Crew (2002), Gaga Slonina, Eupen (2004)

Alternate: John Pulskamp (Sporting KC)

There are not any surprises at the goalkeeping positions


RB, Nathan Harriel, Philadelphia Union (2001), LB, John Tolkin, RBNY (2002), LB, Caleb Wiley, Atlanta United (2004)

Alternates: RB, Jake Davis, Sporting KC

The surprise here is that Bryan Reynolds was not released by his club, Westerlo. The lack of right-back depth has resulted in two left-backs being brought instead. If Reynolds was available, I would have expected a two right-back, one left-back full-back group composition with Kevin Paredes as a back-up left-back option. 

Wiley and Tolkin have been the consistent LB selections all cycle while  Harriel becomes the right-back starter with the ability to play center-back if Mitrovic ever needs to switch to an uneven backline. Outside of Harriel, Taylor Booth has the most experience of any player on the roster playing right-back which he played pretty consistently within Bayern’s system. He gives them a very attack minded option at right-back if the United States need to chase a goal. 

Jake Davis joins this group for the first time all cycle and is the emergency right-back in the case that Harriel gets injured. Jonathan Gomez was reportedly offered an alternate spot, but he turned it down, which isn’t surprising. Gomez likely prefers fighting for a spot with Real Sociedad in preseason or working on a new loan where he can get playing time. 


Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC (1993), Miles Robinson, FC Cincinnati (1997) Maximilian Dietz, Gruether Furth (2002)

The United States decided to use two overage players at center-back, selecting two MLS veterans Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson. I would have preferred to see Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty as the overaged center-backs because they may have more of a chance at a USMNT future, but it’s possible one or both turned it down or did not get released from their European club duties. Zimmerman and Robinson will be expected to be leaders in the backline and provide defensive stability for this group. 

Maximilian Dietz is the only age eligible center-back after playing a significant role in the friendlies leading up to the tournament. Dietz became full-time starter last season for his club, Greuther Fürth, playing in the second tier of German soccer. 


DM Tanner Tessman, Venezia (2001), CM, Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union (2003), CM, Gianluca Busio, Venezia (2002), CM, Benja Cremaschi, Inter Miami

Alternate: DM, Josh Atencio, Seattle Sounders (2002)

No big surprises here either. Tessmann is the captain of the group and one of the most talented players on the roster. He is reportedly close to signing with Inter-Milan and will then be loaned back to Venezia for the 2024-2025 season. He is the only true single-pivot, defensive-mid on the roster and is due to get a lot of minutes in this tournament. 

Tessmann’s club teammate, Gianluca Busio is another top player on this team and will be leaned on heavily. He has the ability to drop back with Tessmann to form a double pivot. Mitrovic will be counting on their chemistry in midfield. 

McGlynn and Cremaschi round out the 6/8 group. McGlynn is going to be leaned on to be a playmaker for this group because there are not a lot of options elsewhere. Cremaschi will be expected to be a box to box workhorse and his ability to crash the box and contribute in the final third could prove to be super valuable. Cremaschi is the youngest player on the team,the Argentinian-American has been a high priority dual-nation for USSF and this tournament will cap-tie him to the United States. 


AM, Djordje Mihailovic, Colorado Rapids (1998), AM, Paxten Aaronson, Vitesse (2003), WING, Taylor Booth, Utrecht (2001), WING, Griffin Yow, Westerlo (2002), WING, Kevin Paredes, Wolfsburg (2003)

The over age Mihailovic is the big head scratcher here. This position group was one of the strongest from an age eligible perspective. If you follow USMNT Twitter, you certainly know that there are many people upset by Diego Luna's exclusion, and I agree with them. He's on fire right now and I would have chosen him over Mihailovic regardless of age. Luna was offered an alternate spot and unsurprisingly turned it down. Brian Gutierrez is another player that was deserving and did not get the selection. 

Aaronson, Paredes, Yow and Booth are not big surprises and all deserve to be there. Aaronson can play as a box to box midfielder and as more of a free attacking midfielder. Like McGlynn, he'll be looked at as a playmaker for this group. 

Booth has a ton of positional flexibility as well. He is likely the back-up right-back and he also has experience playing as a six, eight or ten in midfield. Yow had a breakout year in Belgium and was released by Westerlo, unlike Reynolds. 

Yow was one of the top attacking performers during the friendlies leading up to this tournament and could be looking at a big club transfer this summer.

Paredes will be a key player for this group and will be expected to bring attacking threat. He can also drop back and play left-back if needed.


CF, Duncan McGuire, Orlando City (2001),

Alternate: CF, Johan Gomez, Eintracht Braunschweig (2001)

Duncan McGuire was on every Olympic roster he was available for leading up to the tournament, so there is absolutely zero surprise to see him here. The only surprise is that there really isn’t another player that has experience playing as a nine on the roster. Many thought that this was a position where we might see another over age player like Brandon Vazquez, but he was not released and Mitrovic decided not to go with anyone else. Cade Cowell would have also been an option that could play out wide or up top. Gomez is the alternate. He struggled in the matches leading up to the tournament. 

Who’s Missing and Why?

Not released

RB, Bryan Reynolds, Westerlo (2001)
As stated above, Westerlo did not feel comfortable with their back-up right-back options and did not release him for the tournament. He would have likely been the starting right-back if allowed to participate.

CB, Jalen Neal, LA Galaxy (2003) - unconfirmed
It has not yet been confirmed whether Neal was selected and not released, or not selected. I believe USSF rates Neal and would have selected him over Dietz if he was available.

DM/CM, Aidan Morris, Middlesbrough (2001)
Morris was likely a preferred midfield options, but he just made his big move from Columbus Crew to Middlesbrough and needs to get all of the time he can get at the new club to try and solidify a spot in his first season in England.

‍CM, Rokas Pukstas, Hajduk Split (2004)
It was reported a week or so back that Split would not release Pukstas for the Olympics. It’s also expected that Pukstas moves from Split to a bigger club this summer, so this one is a little confusing.

CF, Brandon Vazquez, Monterrey (1998)
Vazquez was reportedly not released by Monterrey to be an over age player.


RB, Justin Che, Brøndby (2003)
Che never got a chance to stake his claim on a roster spot because of injuries, which is too bad because he was having a nice season on loan in Holland before the injury.

Not selected

Head scratching decision

AM/W, Diego Luna, Real Salt Lake (2003)
The most surprising and disappointing exclusion. He is on fire in MLS and is a creative playmaker, a profile this roster lacks. He also has proven to be a big game player.

Tough call

CM, Cole Bassett, Colorado Rapids (2001)
Many are disappointed by Bassett’s exclusion, he is having a resurgent year in MLS, but does he really have more USMNT potential than the guys selected? I am not convinced.

Good players, deep position group

GK, Chris Brady, Chicago Fire (2004)
He was third on the depth chart and may not have been released by Chicago anyways. 

LB, Jonathan Gomez, Real Sociedad (2003)
Selected to be an alternate, but declined. 

AM, Theodore Ku-DiPietro, D.C. United (2002)
Was a consistent selection early in the friendly cycle, playing in five matches, but faded later in the cycle.

AM/W, Brian Gutierrez, Chicago Fire (2003)
Gutierrez is the second best chance creator in this age group and he was also left at home. 

W, Cade Cowell, Chivas (2003)
Another surprise exclusion mainly because he offers something different in attack (speed!) and he can play as a center-forward.

W, Esmir Bajraktarevic, New England Revolution (2005)
This was likely a really tough call for Mitrovic, who is reportedly very close with Bajraktarevic. Bajraktarevic is a high priority dual-national, but it’s tough to say that he deserved to be here over others based on merit. Bajraktarevic may be very disappointed by the exclusion and maybe this is why we should rarely have kids play up age groups? 

W/CF, Damion Downs, Koln (2004)
Downs was brought into the last camp, but didn’t apparently show enough to get the call.

Never got a chance, but maybe should have?

CM, Owen Wolff, Austin FC (2004)

CM/AM, Quinn Sullivan, Philadelphia Union (2004)

Not quite at the level

CB, George Campbell, Montreal (2001)
Campbell played in quite a few friendlies leading up to the tournament, but he is an odd man out after bringing two over age players.

CB, Jon Tomkinson, Norwich City (2002)
See above.

DM, Daniel Edelman, RBNY (2003)
Played in one friendly, but never seemed to be truly in the mix.

W, Bernard Kamungo, FC Dallas (2002)
Kamungo looked strong early in the cycle and many expected a breakout MLS season, but he’s regressed a little bit.

W, Agustin Anello, Cambuur (2002)
Invited to one camp but struggled.

Roster grade: B-

My main beef is with the over age selections. I would have preferred to give this experience to players who might have a USMNT future. You could argue that Miles Robinson still does because our center-backs have been disappointed as of late. Selecting Mihailovic over Luna is the one that really bothers me and the reason I have dropped the grade to where it is. I would have preferred Luna or Gutierrez over Mihailovic. I would have also preferred another center-forward over Mihailovic. Overall, that seems like a really poor use of a very valuable roster spot. I don’t see any other egregious choices and I think the overall roster construction makes sense. 

The United States could be in for a bloodbath against France in the opener, but they will be the favorites against New Zealand and Guinea and should be expected to get out of the group (heard that one before?) and anything less will be considered a disappointment. After that, it really depends on the knockout stage match up. 

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