Men’s soccer in the United States is back in the Olympics and the World Cup.
With a 3-0 victory over Honduras in the CONCACAF Under-20 championship tournament on Friday, the American men secured a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Since failing to advance past group play in Beijing in 2008, this is the first time the squad has qualified for an Olympics.
Paxten Aaronson, a midfielder with the Philadelphia Union, scored the opening goal for the American team in the third minute. Alejandro Alvarado and Quinn Sullivan quickly added two more goals for them in the first half, and they never looked back.
On Sunday at San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the United States will play against the Dominican Republic in the Under-20 final.
Although qualifying for the Olympics is not as significant as winning the World Cup, it does support the notion that the American men are at last on the right track.
The United States has suffered humiliating qualifying losses in the past, notably David Ochoa’s infamous gaffe last year and an elimination goal that went through the hands of the goalkeeper with just under a minute remaining in 2012.
This year, there was no such drama, and the team is currently on its way to Paris. Unlike most international tournaments, Olympic men’s soccer squads can only contain players under the age of 23, with three players older than the maximum allowed for each nation.