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U23 USYNT Camp Roster Analysis

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March 2024
The U23s get together in France for what will probably be their second to last tune-up before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. They will face Guinea and France in two high quality friendlies. The team is led by former USA U19 coach, Serbian youth national team coach and Chicago Fire assistant coach Matko Mitrović. This is a highly competitive roster with the final Olympic squad list expected to be only 18. Last Olympics they allowed for 22 player rosters. It is expected, but not yet official, that they will go back to the traditional 18 for this Olympics games.

This is a really small number of players for a roster. Typically International tournaments allow for 23 players. The small roster size will force Mitrović to bring players with positional flexibility. There are tough decisions to be made at left-back, center-mid, attacking-mid and winger. The players at these positions know this and will be fighting in these friendlies to make an impression. 
Gianluca Busio, center-mid for Venezia

Roster analysis


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

The Olympics allow teams to bring only two goalkeepers, while most International tournaments require three. These two are the favorites to make the final squad. Chris Brady is also in the conversation, but Chicago is historically stringy with releases for youth tournaments. 


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

With an 18 man roster I would imagine that only three of these guys make the final roster. Reynolds, Tolkin and Wiley are the most talented of the four, but Harriel provides the flexibility to play RB, LB and CB which might get him across the line. My bet is Wiley and Tolkin are competing for the third full-back spot. 


Maximilian Dietz, Gruether Furth (2002), Jon Tomkinson, Bradford City (2002), George Campbell, Montreal (2001)

These have been the most consistent call-ups for this group. Jalen Neal has yet to be healthy for a U23 camp. If he can get healthy and make the next camp in June, he is a likely starter, if released by the LA Galaxy. This is also a position group where U.S. Soccer might decide to bring overage players. The Olympics allows you to bring three senior players. 


Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union (2003), Tanner Tessman, Venezia (2001), Gianluca Busio, Venezia (2002), Daniel Edelman, RBNY (2003), Aidan Morris, Columbus Crew (2001)

McGlynn, Tessmann, Busio and Morris seem like locks for the final roster. I am surprised to see Edelman here considering how well Josh Atencio has been playing so far in MLS. My guess is that he was not released. The other player I was hoping to see is Rokas Pukstas who has been performing well for Hajduk Split. 


Kevin Paredes, Wolfsburg (2003), Paxten Aaronson, Vitesse (2003), Diego Luna, Real Salt Lake (2003), Cade Cowell, Chivas (2003), Griffin Yow, Westerlo (2002), Esmir Bajraktarevic, New England (2005)

This is a very strong group. All of these players have been capped with the senior team while both Kevin Paredes and Paxten Aaronson are peaking through the peephole into the USMNT. Bajraktarevic is once again the youngest player on the squad. There is a concurrent U20 camp that he would have been eligible for, but U.S. Soccer believes he has graduated beyond that level. Yow has been performing well in Belgium and earns his first U23 call-up and first USYNT selection since the U17 age level. 


CF, Duncan McGuire, Orlando City (2001), CF, Johan Gomez, Eintracht Braunschweig (2001)

McGuire is the locked-in starter at center-forward and Gomez has been a consistent back-up for this group. I am a little surprised to not see them explore other options, but the truth is that there aren’t many. . Ricardo Pepi is with the senior team and the rest of the pool is pretty empty. I thought they might take a look at Kahveh Zahiroleslam, a former Yale graduate who is now playing at a decent level in Belgium. Damion Downs, a German-American who scored his first Bundesliga goal for Koln last weekend would have been another interesting selection here. 

Who’s Missing and Why?

There are many reasons why players are not in camp. The most common reasons are that a player is already provisionally cap-tied to another country, U.S. Soccer might feel that they have graduated beyond this level, they may not have been released by their club, they have injury/fitness issues, they declined the invite or they simply were not selected by U.S. Soccer. Here are some of the top players that are not in camp and my best guess as to why: 

Cap-tied elsewhere

GK, Zion Suzuki, Saint Truiden (Japan/2002)
CB, Bryan Okoh, RB Salzburg (Switzerland/2003)
CB, Fernando Alvarez, CF Montreal (Colombia/2003)
LB, Nathaniel Brown, Nuremberg (Germany/2003) 
RB, Devan Tanton, Fulham (Colombia/2004)

Graduated beyond this level

LB, Kristoffer Lund, Palermo (2002)
RB, Joe Scally, Gladbach (2002)
DM, Johnny Cardoso, Real Betis (2001)
CM, Yunus Musah, AC Milan (2002)
AM, Gio Reyna, Nottingham Forest (2002)
AM, Malik Tillman, PSV (2002)
CF, Folarin Balogun, Monaco (2001)
CF, Ricardo Pepi, PSV (2003)

As of right now, all of these guys look like locks or close to locks for Copa America this summer, so I don't think any of these U23 eligible players will be with the Olympic team.

Not released

DM, Joshua Atencio, Seattle Sounders (2002)

I am not 100% sure this is the case, but given how well Atencio is playing and how shallow Seattle's midfield depth is right now, I have to think this is accurate. Additionally, Atencio was selected to the January camp over Daniel Edelman, so I think we know who the higher rated player is.


CM, Benja Cremaschi, Inter Miami (2005)
W, Taylor Booth, Utrecht (2001)
W, Luca Koleosho, Burnley (2004) also provisionally cap-tied to Italy

Not selected

GK, Chris Brady, Chicago Fire (2004)
LB, Jonathan Gomez, Mirandes (2003)
LB, Noah Allen, Inter Miami (2004)
RB, Justin Che, Den Haag (2003)
CB, Brandan Craig, El Paso (2004)
DM, Obed Vargas, Seattle (2005) might be with U19/U20 group
CM, Owen Wolff, Austin FC (2004) 
CM/AM, Quinn Sullivan, Philadelphia Union (2004)
AM/W, Brian Gutierrez, Chicago Fire (2003)
AM/W, Theodore Ku-DiPietro, D.C. United (2002)
AM, Aziel Jackson, St. Louis City (2001)
AM, Caden Clark, Minnesota United (2003)
W, Bernard Kamungo, FC Dallas (2002)
W, Zach Booth, Volendam (2004)
W, Agustin Anello, Cambuur (2002)
CF, Kahveh Zahiroleslam, Sint Truiden (2002)
CF, Damion Downs, Koln (2004)

I am making assumptions on the list of players not selected. It’s possible that a few of these guys were selected but were not released by their clubs. It's been confirmed by Brian Sciaretta that both Chris Brady and Brian Gutierrez are not with the squad through selection, not a club release issue.


It’s a decently strong group. The strength of the squad is in midfield and the half-space/winger type players. The weakness is in the center-back position which is why I think that U.S. Soccer may elect to bring two overage players at that position. There are a few names that I think can still make some noise and make their way into the final squad: Justin Che, Jalen Neal, Josh Atencio, Benja Cremaschi, Rokas Pukstas, Brian Gutierrez, Taylor Booth, Bernard Kamungo and potentially Luca Koleosho if he is interested in playing for this team. 

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