Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow named to U.S. Olympic men’s soccer team

Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow, 21-year-old soccer players from Northern Virginia who launched their careers as D.C. United homegrown players before venturing to Europe, are going to the Paris Olympics together.

The wingers were among 18 players named Monday to the U.S. men’s squad, which will compete at the Summer Games for the first time since 2008. The 16-nation tournament is restricted to players 23 and under, with three exceptions per team.

Paredes (South Riding) and Yow (Clifton) have been part of the youth national team set-up for some time. But because soccer’s governing body, FIFA, does not require clubs to release players for the Olympics, Paredes needed permission from Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga and Yow from Belgian club Westerlo to join the U.S. squad.

Several of U.S. Coach Marko Mitrovic’s player requests were declined by clubs, including midfielder Aidan Morris (Middlesbrough) and forwards Haji Wright (Coventry City) and Brandon Vazquez (Monterrey), multiple people familiar with the situation said.

Several age-eligible players, such as Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah, were not realistic call-ups because of club preseason demands and their participation at Copa América with the senior national team this summer.

“It was actually a really difficult process in last eight to 10 months, talking to the clubs and trying to get all the players released,” Mitrovic said. “Yes, there were challenges, but we ended up with a roster that we really believe can represent us in the best possible way and I feel very good about the team that is going to go to Paris.”

The U.S. team will report to training camp this week in Bordeaux, France. Group play will begin July 24 against France in Marseille, followed by New Zealand on July 27 in Marseille and Guinea on July 30 in Saint-Etienne. Two will advance to the quarterfinals.

Since the age restriction was implemented in 1992, the only time the U.S. men have advanced out of group play was the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when they finished fourth.

All but three U.S. call-ups have made senior national team appearances.

Paredes and Yow are among eight European-based players headed to the Olympics. This past season — his second full campaign in Germany since United transferred him for a club-record $7.35 million in January 2022 — Paredes scored three goals in 28 league appearances (15 starts).

This summer he was a candidate for the Copa América squad, but U.S. senior national team coach Gregg Berhalter decided to save him for the Olympics.

Yow, who moved to Belgium in July 2022, had seven goals in 28 league matches (25 starts) this past season.

The other 10 U.S. players are from MLS teams, including all three over-age selections: center backs Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) and Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati) and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids).

Zimmerman, 31, and Robinson, 27, started together in six 2022 World Cup qualifiers and eight times overall. Zimmerman started at the World Cup in Qatar but Robinson missed the tournament with an Achilles’ tendon injury. Mihailovic, 25, has played for the senior squad 11 times and is enjoying a standout MLS season with 10 goals and nine assists.

The roster also includes midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi, who, at 19, was the youngest selection. In his second season on Inter Miami’s first team, Cremaschi has been mentored by Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

U.S. roster

Goalkeepers: Gabriel Slonina (Chelsea), Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew).

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

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

Forwards: Paxten Aaronson (Utrecht), Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Griffin Yow (Westerlo).

Alternates: GK John Pulskamp (Sporting Kansas City), D Jacob Davis (Sporting Kansas City), MF Josh Atencio (Seattle Sounders), F Johan Gomez (Eintracht Braunschweig).

Related Articles

Back to top button