U-23 Update


The men’s under-23 team continues to train to get ready for Olympic qualifying that begins later this week.  Coach Caleb Porter sat down for a conference call with USsoccer.com to talk about his team and the expectations.  Below are some excepts from the conversation, but you can see the whole transcript here.  

After four training camps, Porter is exciting as a part of the linear system within U.S. soccer.  He had eight full days to train his team despite some minor roster tweaks.  However there are other players in Europe that have not been named to the team and Porter still has to keep in touch with them.

"I’m not going to get into specifics of players who are not in camp. But it’s obvious, reading between the lines, there are players of Under-23 age that could be in qualifying and in all honesty, we’ve already been in conversations with those clubs. We’ve asked for their release in several situations. We’ve invited players into camp and at this point, we have not gotten their release and so we need to keep our options open until March 20, but at the same we always knew that this would possibly be a situation and we’ve prepared and planned for their alternates."

Before they get to London, the team will have to advance out of this CONCACAF region tournament taking place in the United States.  The U.S. is in a group with Cuba, El Salvador and Canada to begin their competition.

"We’ve known for quite some time who our opponents will be in the group stages so we’ve been collecting scouting information on all of our opponents. Obviously we’ll see Canada and El Salvador after they play their initial games but we also scouting information. We’ve seen those teams, whether it’s live or on tape. We have people who have devoted time to scouting these opponents and we’ll have someone assigned to scouting the games in L.A., we’ll have someone doing the scouting in Nashville. But with Cuba, we did see them live and we’re collecting information on them, as well. We’ll have a great read on all these teams going into each game. I think the interesting thing with our group is that you have three teams that are different in the way they play, the way they align their system, the way they play, style-wise, and we need to make sure that we’re focusing on what we do well. We need to come up with a plan, though, that makes sense for that game and ultimately getting three points."

Terrence Boyd will join the camp late after commitments to his club in Germany, but is a promising young striker that looks to develop into a mainstay.

"Terrence, in the Lakewood camp in Florida, we had heard good things about him. Obviously he was also in the Germany camp with Claudio [Reyna] and Tab [Ramos]. They really liked him there. He’s a guy that fits in that No. 9 spot. He’s a big, strong, athletic kid, very determined and lethal around the goal. He’s been great with his club, Borussia Dortmund 2, the reserve team. He’s really been doing well and scoring goals. For me, he can hold the ball, he can stretch and he’s great around the box and he can score goals. So I think those things are very attractive in that role. He’s a great kid, as well. He made a great impression on us in that Florida camp. He hasn’t been able to get into any of the other camps with us, but we’ve been monitoring his progress. Again, I think he fits the system we’re playing and he brings some things to the table that we feel are important."

Porter has been in constant contact with Jurgen Klinsmann regarding the team and personnel, but he maintains responsibility over the U-23 team.

"Well, 4-3-3 is a system. Obviously, the style is separate from that. 4-3-3 is a system that I believe in, in some ways, but I can certainly adjust the system depending on the personnel."

The team will begin its run through qualifying on March 22.  Due to injuries on his club team, Josh Gatt has been recalled.  Clubs are not obligated to provide players for Olympic qualifying.  A replacement should be named with the final roster update tomorrow.