USA soccer confirm men’s Olympic roster: Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson and Djordje Mihailovic join U23 side

USA soccer confirm men’s Olympic roster: Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson and Djordje Mihailovic join U23 side

The USA have named their men’s soccer roster for the Paris 2024 Olympics Games with Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson and Djordje Mihailovic the three over-age representatives on Marko Mitrovic’s 18-strong squad.

Center back Zimmerman, who was not part of the USMNT squad eliminated from the Copa America group stages, is the most capped international in a group that includes 15 players who have won caps in Gregg Berhalter’s senior setup. Only three spots on the roster can be given to players over the age of 23 and Mitrovic has opted to use those places to strengthen the spine of his XI. Zimmerman and Robinson, the likely center back pairing in Paris, have a combined 71 senior caps while midfielder Mihailovic scored twice for the USMNT in Gold Cup action this season.

Robinson is the only player on the roster who was also part of the Copa America setup. He was an unused substitute in all three USMNT matches. The likes of Giovanni Reyna and Ricardo Pepi, though eligible for the tournament on age criteria, have not been selected.

Among the most notable young players on the roster are Venezia duo Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessman, the latter expected to join Inter this summer, and forward Paxten Aaronson. Eight of the squad play their football outside the USA but US Soccer was keen to note that all bar one had been developed through MLS pathways.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have this group of great players and great people represent us at the Olympic Games,” said head coach Mitrovic. “It’s a special moment for all of us as they have worked their entire lives to reach this stage.

“Almost every player developed through our American soccer pathway, rising to become professionals and now they will live their dreams of competing at the Olympics. We’re grateful to the clubs that released their players in support of our mission. Our goal is to make our country proud and we will give everything for the United States.”

USA Olympics men’s roster

Goalkeepers (2): Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew; St. Charles, Mo.), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Ill.)

Defenders (6): Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Furth/GER; Frankfurt, Germany), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; Oldsmar, Fla.), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; Arlington, Mass.), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta, Ga.), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; Lawrenceville, Ga.) 

Midfielders (5): Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; Greensboro, N.C.), Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami CF; Key Biscayne, Fla.), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Queens, N.Y.), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids; Jacksonville, Fla.), Tanner Tessmann (Venezia/ITA; Birmingham, Ala.) 

Forwards (5): Paxten Aaronson (FC Utrecht/NED; Medford, NJ), Taylor Booth (FC Utrecht/NED; Eden, Utah), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City SC; Omaha, Neb.), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Va.), Griffin Yow (KVC Westerlo/BEL; Clifton, Va.) 

Alternates (4): Josh Atencio (Midfielder, Seattle Sounders FC; Bellevue, Wash.), Jacob Davis (Defender, Sporting Kansas City; Rochester, Mich.), Johan Gomez (Forward, Eintracht Braunschweig/GER; Keller, Texas), John Pulskamp (Goalkeeper, Sporting Kansas City; Bakersfield, Calif.) 

A midfield shakeup

After leaving the Olympic camp in June to finalize a move to Middlesbrough it seemed like Aidan Morris would still return to be part of the Olympic roster for Mitrovic’s team. But now, with the final 18 named, his spot has gone to an overaged player in Djordje Mihailovic. It’s unknown at the time if Middlesbrough didn’t want to release him as the club began preseason preparation, but it will be quite a shift for the side. In Mihailovic, a strong replacement has come in though. The Colorado Rapids man has 10 goals and six assists in MLS this season while also being able to take free kicks. His inclusion does add dynamism alongside the Venezia midfielders as well as experience due to Mihailovic also having senior team caps. 

Benjamin Cremaschi is also someone to watch at only 19. Cremaschi will be age-eligible for the 2028 Olympics, so getting experience now could prove to be critical moving forward. The Inter Miami midfielder is the only player who made the official roster that will be eligible for the next Olympic cycle.

Where is Diego Luna?

Leading the Real Salt Lake midfield, Diego Luna has registered five goals and eight assists, but won’t be making the trip to Paris. News broke that he’d be left out of the Olympic squad over the weekend and he responded by scoring a goal and assisting three more in a victory over Atlanta United. A very direct player, Luna has some similarities to Paxten Aaronson but has actually been playing consistently, With only 18 players named to the squad, there are tough decisions to make and one of them came down to Luna missing out.

Overaged players

Mitrovic opted to go with experience along the back line with the inclusion of Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson, but it does make you wonder if this was the best use of those spots. Mihailovic will be a strong addition to the midfield, and while center back is a weakness for this team, using two spots leaves the attack quite light. There were questions of if someone like Brandon Vazquez would end up taking one of these slots but that’s where clubs not needing to release players for the Olympics becomes an issue. MLS sides are more likely to let their players go as it’s a chance to showcase them for moves and important experience while playing in America, but playing abroad, releasing players during preseason can be seen as a risk.

PSV reportedly blocked Ricardo Pepi and Malik Tillman from participating in the Olympics and it’s likely that Mitrovic had more conversations like that with clubs as well. Even an early Copa America exit wasn’t enough to get a member of the senior side who actually logged minutes during the tournament into this team for important matches in Paris. Mitrovic will still have a strong side at his disposal but if clubs had to release players, he’d have better options on how to manage these limited slots.

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