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Zelalem, Trapp headline roster for final U.S U-23 MNT camp before Olympic qualifying

GedionZelalemUSU20MNT1-Colombia2015 (Getty)

U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has named his roster for the two final friendlies before Olympic qualifying, and it is filled with talented returning regulars and promising newcomers.

Gedion Zelalem, Rubio Rubin and Wil Trapp are among the 24 players that have been called in by Herzog for the U-23s’ final preparation camp ahead of Olympic qualifying in October. The camp will be held in Manchester, England, from Aug. 30-Sept. 8 and will feature friendlies against England and Qatar on Sept. 3 and 8, respectively.

Zelalem’s inclusion is part of an influx of U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team players that have been brought in for this camp after impressing at the U-20 World Cup earlier this summers. Others that participated in that tournament and have been summoned by Herzog include Rubin, Emerson Hyndman, Matt Miazga, and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

“These are two important games here because they are our last before the Olympic Qualifying tournament,” Herzog said. “We have a strong group of players that we believe in, and now we are able to look as some of the guys who did very well with our U-20 team. This is really the last chance for all of the players to make an impression before we select the final roster for qualifying.”

The U-23s recently participated in this summer’s Toulon Tournament, finishing in third-place with a victory over England. Overall, the Americans are 5-3-0 in 2015.

CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying will be played from Oct, 1-13, with the U.S. set to kick off the group stage against Canada on the first of the month before facing off with Cuba two days later and Panama on Oct. 6.

Here is the full U.S. U-23s’ roster for the upcoming camp:

Goalkeepers (3): Cody Cropper (MK Dons; Maple Grove, Minn.), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).

Defenders (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Apollon Limassol; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif).

Midfielders (8): Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington County, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Tex.), Benji Joya (Club Necaxa; San Jose, Calif.), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.).

Forwards (5): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Scion; Washington, D.C.).

What do you think of the roster? Which player do you expect to make a major impact ahead of Olympic qualifying? Like that Herzog is summoning so many U-20 players?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Morris is definitely showing great potential but he won’t be called up, especially considering he had to have off season surgery. Green doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the senior team but you never know with JK

      • Senior team no, but he’s basically playing in the Olympic division in Germany, and he did score last week. Should be on the roster for qualifying for Olympics.

  1. I think the omission of guys like Morris and Green are due to the fact that they are known quantities to Herzog. Kind of shocked by Arriola not being called in but maybe Herzog would rather give a look at some other players he might not be as familiar with. Other than Rubin it seems the rest of the forwards are new to the pool and warrant the looks. Sure some might not be playing well at the club level but that isn’t always the best indicator of international success.

    It makes sense to call in Miazga and Carter-Vickers because they will be the starting CB’s and the more time they can spend together the better. That partnership is probably the most important tandem on the field in terms of communication and understanding of play.

    • There can also be some negotiation going on. “We’ll leave him off this call-up if you let him come to the 1st 2 games of qualifying…” It’s a real puzzle to put together because of MLS having games during both camp and qualifying as well as the split FIFA window for qualifying AND the game against Mexico.

    • Tijuana is a long trip to England for a guy you already know pretty well, he’s been on virtually every squad they’ve had over the last few years. Plus, he’s back getting Senior team minutes so why pull him and have him risk his spot.

  2. As usual, I’m sure there’s reasons for certain inclusions and exclusions, and as usual some people will freak out without knowing what’s happening behind the scenes.
    Like the article last week discussed, they’ve gotta manage all these call ups with different leagues and several players who could be on both teams…
    Remember the outrage when Danny Williams, Jordan Morris, and Cameron were left off the Gold Cup roster?
    I remember seeing dozens of posts here and the usmnt Twitter feed blasting the decision to exclude Jordan Morris from the roster changes for the knockout rounds….. hhhmmmm
    As far as the final roster, I hope for Arriola to get a call. That guy was strong in that tourney, should have got more praise.

  3. Here is my question. The qualifying tournament begins outside of a FIFA International date and you can’t add/remove from the roster once it starts. I’ve also read that Carter-Vickers, Horvath and Zelalem have not been released for the tournament. If so why are they being called now if they won’t be playing in qualifying? Or will they just have a small roster until the tournament enters the Oct Fifa Intl window? I hope Herzog is handling their situation with their clubs in a reasonable way.

    • They’ll probably add guys in when the window starts. The group is laughably easy so if we can’t at least finish top 2 we don’t deserve to make the Olympics anyway.

      • “The group is laughably easy ”

        On paper you are right but I keep thinking Caleb Porter must have thought the same thing last time.

      • Never said we would definitely make it. Anything can happen. All I’m saying is this group is super easy and we SHOULD have no difficulties.

      • Canada beat the US in the last Olympic qualifying and Panama has had good youth teams for the last 3 or 4 years. With youth teams, you never know until they play.

    • You’ve heard speculation about who will get released. And you’re right that Horvath is unlikely to get released, but sometimes you just want to get players into camp to see what’s up with them. And it’s possible to have 1 or 2 players come in for the games during the FIFA window.

  4. I’m disappointed Paine didn’t make it, perhaps club didn’t let him, same for Novakovich. Morris is not either, he better be with the senior.

    • Desevio Payne has been injured to start the Eredivisie season, which is why he has yet to play a match for his club so a callup at this point was never going to happen! He’ll be on the team down the road, “you can bet your bottom dollar” on that one!

    • A lot of U-20 guys on the roster so it looks to me like bring in the younger guys to see who fits in with the 21 and 22 year olds that they saw this Summer.

    • One would think that Bayern Munich would not block a reserve player from participating in U-23 International friendlies. Given that premise, it seems that there would be 2 other likely scenarios where Green is not called in.

      1) The U-23 staff is secure in Green’s form and is bringing in other players to evaluate them for the Olympic qualifying roster

      2) Green was called in but asked out of the friendlies to stay in Germany and train with Bayern Munich’s U-23’s to solidify his place atop Bayern Munich’s U-23 depth chart.

      A less likely scenario is that the USMNT U-23’s staff does not highly rate Green’s form right now. I will admit that given his preferred status with Klinsmann that this is a real long shot, but it seems possible given Green’s lack of progression over the past 1 1/2 years.

  5. solid roster. hope they can beat England again! and successfully get a lot of these guys to Qualifying.

    major omissions that I would like to hear about are
    Navakovich & Vasquez – USSF doesn’t seem too interested?
    Morris – injured?
    Gooch – ?
    Green – ?

      • Navakovich wasn’t even released for the U-20 WC. not that surprising.
        Gooch just starting to break into Sunderland 1st team. Probably better he stays.
        Morris really early into his school year and season. he’ll be there in october.
        Green is all kinds of lost right now. he doesn’t deserve call-up
        Arriola is probably in the same boat as gooch.

      • Green scored for BM II this week so you know. Probably a shoe-in along with Morris come final roster.

  6. Both Rodriguez and Hernandez are doing terrible with clubs, Arriola or Novakovich are better choices. I understand both Woods and Morris might be with full USNT.

  7. So Matt Miazga (and other MLS players) have to miss games for their club to go to a training camp to prepare to play a qualifying tournament in order to qualify for a meaningless tournament? Awesome. Why is soccer even in the Olympics?

      • Because it’s a made up tournament – do we really need to determine which country has the best U-23 team with 3 overage players? I know others care about it but I don’t so I’m complaining my team’s best defender is going to miss games. I found out he’s not leaving until after the game on Sunday so I’m a little less down about it btw.

        I also am more likely to comment about things if they annoy me. Overall soccer brings me great joy which is why when I kill time at work I often come on this site.

      • Every soccer tournament is a “made up tournament”, including the World Cup. MLS is a “made up” league so no biggie that Miazga is going to miss some games for the Red Bulls.

      • Slow, i tend to agree with alot of your post sans your dual nationals argument, and again i’ll have to disagree with you on this one. Its not about concerning yourself with who has the best U-23 national team but like any other sport in the Olympics, it is about trying to win for national pride! Nothing comes close to competing in the Olympics which is why you often see a lot of overage players wanting to compete in it because they know how massive it is to be a part of the biggest sporting event in the world! In comparison to major soccer tournaments it lags behind but the pageantry and the memories you take away from such a spectacle cannot be matched by anything else.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics. I’m planning on attending the 2018 games in Korea. But the world cup is bigger than the Olympics so that’s why I don’t understand the interest in Olympic soccer. In Europe, for example, no one cares. Plus the format is silly. I get that FIFA doesn’t want full national teams in it because it detracts from the world cup but U-23 + 3 overage is just weird.

      • Slow left, I have to get on you about “nobody cares”. I have seen a bunch of posters (not just you) speak about either the Olympics and/or Confederations Cup and say stuff like “in Europe nobody cares”. Ridiculous. First of all, 99% of posters here on SBI are American, so it is funny to hear people here speak for all Europeans. If you guys don’t see how silly that is then what can I say? Second, I am as traveled as anyone, mainly in Europe, Southeast Asia and Central America, and from my experience Europeans absolutely care about both the Confederations Cup and Olympic football. For example, that is why there was so much excitement leading up to the London games about the UK team and they wanted to use players from all UK nations but not get any flack from Fifa in regards to their individual nations status. Every nation that entered that tournament or any years Olympic football tournament in desperate to win it.

        Also your “world cup is bigger” argument doesn’t work for me. Yes it is bigger but so what? World Cup is bigger than Gold Cup, Euros, Copa America but we all still watch those, and they are important. Uefa champions league is bigger than Cocacaf champions, but we still watch both and care about both.

      • Because I love soccer, I’ll certainly watch it in the Olympics. With club seasons, Champion’s League, WC, GC/Regional Championship, there is quite a bit of overload on the schedule and at some point, something has to give with injuries/fatigue, shceduling conflicts or diluting the value of products/tourneys. Being the late comer and rather redundant, Olympics seems to be the one most nations choose not to prioritize. World Cup is definitely king and does more than fill the niche to determine National team supremacy. Other than “more is better” not so sure Olympic Soccer is such a great idea.

      • dalomismo,

        Olympic soccer has never been popular with the big clubs in Europe for the reasons you suggest, in short, fixture congestion, player burnout, that sort of thing.

        If you think about all the competitions that are already going on this is just one more to add to the pile.

        And of course that is probably why FIFA made it an Under 23 thing so that sending your developmental guys would not be seen as an insult and because they , as has been said elsewhere, wanted no competition with the World Cup.

        Besides, I think Sepp Blatter saw the Olympic Organizers as corrupt and did not want them to taint the game’s reputation. The game’s image matters to Blatter you know.

  8. Pretty strong group. Add Morris in October and maybe Payne and they should be about set to roll Olympic qualifying. Key word is should.


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