U.S. names men’s soccer team for Paris Olympics; first squad to play in Games since 2008

Inter Miami CF midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi (30) controls the ball in the first half against FC Cincinnati Saturday at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

Coach Marko Mitrovic revealed Monday the 18-player roster for the U.S. men’s soccer team heading to the Paris Olympics. This summer marks the first time the U.S. men will compete in the Games since 2008 after failing to qualify for the previous three cycles.

The Americans’ first match will be against host France on July 24 — two days before the Opening Ceremony — at Stade de Marseille in Marseille at 9 a.m. HST. The U.S. men have never faced France at the Olympics.


The U.S. will then take on New Zealand on July 27 in Marseille at 7 a.m. HST and finish the group stage against Guinea on July 30 at 7 a.m. ET.

Men’s Olympic soccer is restricted to players under the age of 23, with an allowance for three overage players. Defender Walker Zimmerman, who joined the team’s June camp as its first overage player, defender Miles Robinson and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic were selected for the overage spots.

At just 19 years old, midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi is the youngest player on the roster and also age-eligible for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Inevitably, the squad for a major youth tournament like the Olympics or a U-20 World Cup provides an opportunity to assess the state of the player pool at different stages of development. The fact that two of three overage picks were used on center backs is a cause for concern.

Perhaps if Jalen Neal hadn’t missed the first few months of the 2024 MLS season, it would have been a different story.

These picks are still wise, mind you: Zimmerman and Robinson partnered often during the 2022 World Cup qualification, which provides a stable bedrock for Mitrovic’s side. Still, it’s an admittance that there isn’t a healthy number of young central defenders rising through the ranks — but that’s a headache to address in later years.

It’s a bit of a surprise to see Mitrovic use his third overage pick on an attacking midfielder rather than a striker. Djordje Mihailovic has been back to his best since signing with the Colorado Rapids this winter. However, his involvement coincides with the roster’s most surprising omission: Diego Luna, the dynamic attacking midfielder for Real Salt Lake. Luna seemed destined to not just make this squad, but be among its most important players given his chance creation prowess and eye for a long shot.

Further up the pitch, Duncan McGuire projects to lead the line without an obvious alternative, with Aaronson having only minimally logged time at striker.

— Jeff Rueter, soccer staff writer

The roster contains a clutch of players who will arrive in Paris on the back of hugely promising seasons at their European clubs.

Kevin Paredes made 26 appearances in Bundesliga for Wolfsburg, and along the way was named 2023 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year.

A tactically astute left-footed midfielder, he operated across six positions for the German club, including left-back, and the 21-year-old scored three goals.

In Italy, Venezia’s Tanner Tessmann and team-mate Gianluca Busio helped the club win promotion to Serie A, while putting themselves on the radar of bigger clubs across the continent. Tessmann made 42 appearances for Venezia, scored in their play-off semi-final win, and is regarded as one of the division’s most-coveted young defensive midfielders.

Busio, 22, created the solitary goal that clinched promotion, and was another near ever-present during the campaign with 42 appearances, seven goals and five assists from midfield.

Paxten Aaronson will link-up with international team-mate Taylor Booth at FC Utrecht next season, hoping to flourish in the same style Booth managed in the Netherlands.

Despite injury problems Booth made 21 appearances and scored six goals. Aaronson struggled for game time in Bundesliga at Eintracht Frankfurt, but the 20-year-old’s January loan to struggling Vitesse Arnhem saw him gain vital top-flight experience. He started all but one of the club’s 15 games during his time in Holland and scored four goals in the pressure of a relegation battle.

Collectively their experience in different but equally challenging environments across Europe should put them in good stead to make an impact at the games.

— Greg O’Keefe

• • •

GOALKEEPERS (2): Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea)

DEFENDERS (6): Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Furth), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami CF), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids), Tanner Tessmann (Venezia)

FORWARDS (5): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt), Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City SC), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Griffin Yow (KVC Westerlo)

ALTERNATES (4): Josh Atencio (Midfielder, Seattle Sounders FC), Jacob Davis (Defender, Sporting Kansas City), Johan Gomez (Forward, Eintracht Braunschweig), John Pulskamp (Goalkeeper, Sporting Kansas City)

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