CHICAGO (AP) – If the US qualifies for this year's Olympic men's soccer tournament, it may decide that Christian Pulisic is better off staying at Chelsea than in Tokyo.
"We can have the influence of a player who goes to the Olympics but doesn't play for a long time, leading to World Cup qualifiers and even a World Cup later," said the sports director of the US Football Federation. Earnie Stewart.
The US has failed to advance in the region's last two men's Olympic qualifying tournaments, limited to players under 23. The Americans are in a difficult group with Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, starting to play on March 30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. .
While much of the qualifying takes place during a FIFA match window, the opening of the Americans on March 20 against Costa Rica conflicts with club dates. Unlike national teams, clubs need not release players to Olympic teams. That means the US may be without its best players under 23, a group that includes Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest and Josh Sargent.
Stewart spoke during a conference call with national new men team general manager Brian McBride, who was hired on Friday. McBride's contract runs through the 2002 World Cup.
McBride retired as a player after the 2010 season. He met Jürgen Klinsmann about a possible job when Klinsmann coached the US between 2011 and 17, but the position never developed.
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