USMNT U23s To Host CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship

Feb 8, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; United States midfielder Miguel Ibarra (19) against Panama at StubHub Center. The United States defeated Panama 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The USMNT will play host for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championships this October. The tournament, which will run from October 1-13, will send 2 teams directly to the 2016 Olympic Football Tournament in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Both the Olympics and the CONCACAF Qualifying Championships will be U-23 tournaments.

The tournament will feature 8 teams competing for 2 spots that will send them directly to the Olympics. The USA, Canada and Mexico will be joined by 3 teams from the Central American zone and 2 Caribbean teams. The teams will be split into 2 groups of 4 teams.

We are looking forward to hosting the Olympic Qualifying Championship and showcasing the quality of soccer in the region. The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes from across North, Central America and the Caribbean compete for the opportunity to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games.”  – U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati

The USA hosted the last Olympic qualifying tournament as well, but failed to advance to the 2012 Olympics in London. Mexico and Honduras earned the direct spots, and Mexican ended up winning the Olympic championship.

The CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers will start with a round robin group phase from Oct.1-7, followed by the knockout round. The final group stage match as well as the semis, final and 3rd place match will take place during FIFA’s scheduled match window in October, so every nation should be able to call up their best U23 players.

Exact times and days for matches will be set following the Caribbean and Central American qualifying tournaments this summer. The cities for this tournament will also be announced at a later date, in 2012 Kansas City, Nashville and Los Angeles were the host cities.

This will be a fun and exciting tournament to watch the potential future stars of the senior USMNT in action. USMNT U23 head coach Andreas Herzog is well versed in the system senior USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants his players to operate it.

The USMNT U23 squad has not won an Olympic tournament, and hasn’t won a CONCACAF Qualifying tournament since the 1992 edition, and did not qualify for the last Olympic Tournament.