Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow named to US Olympic men’s soccer team

Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow, 21-year-old soccer players from Northern Virginia who began their careers as homegrown players for DC United before moving to Europe, are heading to the Paris Olympics together.

The wingers are among 18 players named Monday to the U.S. men’s team, which will compete at the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2008. Only players age 23 and under are allowed to participate in the 16-nation tournament, with three exceptions per team.

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

Several people familiar with the situation said U.S. coach Marko Mitrovic’s requests for several players were rejected by clubs, including midfielder Aidan Morris (Middlesbrough) and forwards Hazie Wright (Coventry City) and Brandon Vazquez (Monterrey).

Several age-eligible players, such as Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah, were not realistic call-ups due to the club’s preseason demands and their participation in the Copa America with the senior national team this summer.

“It was a really difficult process over the last eight to 10 months talking to 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 way possible and I feel really good about the team that’s going to be going to Paris.”

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

Since the age restriction was implemented in 1992, the U.S. men’s team has only advanced out of group play at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when they finished fourth.

All but three American players have made it to the senior national team.

Paredes and Yov are among eight European players to have appeared at the Olympics. Last season — his second full campaign in Germany since United moved him for a club-record $7.35 million in January 2022 — Paredes scored three goals in 28 league appearances (15 starts).

He was a candidate for the Copa America team this summer, but U.S. senior national team coach Gregg Berhalter decided to save him for the Olympics.

Yov, who moved to Belgium in July 2022, scored seven goals in 28 league appearances (25 starts) last season.

The other 10 American players are from MLS teams, including all three over-age players selected: 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 11 times for the senior team and is enjoying a stellar MLS season with 10 goals and nine assists.

The roster also includes midfielder Benjamin Kremanski, who was the youngest player at age 19. In his second season on the Inter Miami first team, Kremanski is coached by Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

GoalkeeperGabriel Slonina (Chelsea), Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew).

DefendersMaximilian 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).

Midfielder: Gianluca Busio (Venice), Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids), Tanner Tessman (Venice).

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

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


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