The United States men’s and women’s national teams will have the chance to play this summer as Olympic and Japanese government officials have firmly stated that the Summer Games in Tokyo will go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
With just over five months to go until the cauldron is lit at the National Stadium, there have been doubts as to whether the games would go on as scheduled as many countries, including Japan, have had difficulty bringing the virus under control.
However, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori doubled down on the Olympics going forward while speaking at an event in the Japanese capital on Tuesday.
“No matter what situation would be with the coronavirus, we will hold the Games,” Mori said.
Last month, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said there was “no plan B” as the 16-day event is scheduled to begin on July 23.
Despite low support nationwide, the Tokyo and Japanese central governments are pulling all the stops to ensure a safe Olympics for both athletes and spectators. The most recent effort has seen the organizers release a pandemic playbook that provides detailed instructions on the measures needed to guarantee a successful Games this summer.
With guarantees that the Olympics will be held this summer, it means it’s game on for the Americans as they gear up for the first major international competition since the coronavirus outbreak.
The U.S. women’s national team already qualified for the tournament at the beginning of 2020. Now, head coach Vlatko Andonovski will be looking to fine-tune the team before departing for Japan as they play in the four-team SheBelieves Cup that starts on Feb. 18.
As for the men’s Under-23 team, its ticket to Tokyo has not been booked yet. March will be a very important month for Jason Kreis’ men as they will head to Guadalajara, Mexico, to play in the rescheduled CONCACAF men’s Olympic Qualifiers.
They will have their work cut out for them as regional rivals Mexico and Costa Rica will provide a tough obstacle for them in Group A in the quest to secure passage to the Tokyo Games.