See which players made the cut

The U.S. men’s soccer team is competing in the Olympics for the first time since 2008. The roster for the national team was announced Monday morning, less than a month before the Games begin in Paris.

Several rising stars are part of this year’s highly anticipated team, some of which were first announced exclusively on NBC’s “TODAY” show. They will appear in the first Team USA event of the Paris Games, kicking off against host nation France on July 24, two days before the opening ceremony.

The U.S. men failed to qualify for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics, but are ready to take the field again after an absence of nearly two decades.

The last time they were on an Olympic field, the team finished ninth in the tournament. Argentina won the gold in 2008, followed by Nigeria with the silver and Brazil with the bronze.

The US team – listed below with the players’ clubs and hometowns is led by head coach Marko Mitrović.

Goalkeepers:

  • Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew; St. Charles, Missouri)
  • Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/England; Addison, Illinois)

Defenders:

  • Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Fürth/Germany; Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; Oldsmar, Florida)
  • Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; Arlington, Massachusetts)
  • John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, New Jersey)
  • Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta)
  • Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; Lawrenceville, Georgia)

Midfielders:

  • Gianluca Busio (Venice/Italy; Greensboro, North Carolina)
  • Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami CF; Key Biscayne, Florida)
  • Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Queens, New York)
  • Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids; Jacksonville, Florida)
  • Tanner Tessmann (Venice/Italy; Birmingham, Alabama)

Attackers:

  • Paxten Aaronson (FC Utrecht/Netherlands; Medford, New Jersey)
  • Taylor Booth (FC Utrecht/Netherlands; Eden, Utah)
  • Duncan McGuire (Orlando City SC; Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/Germany; South Riding, Virginia)
  • Griffin Yow (KVC Westerlo/Belgium; Clifton, Virginia)

Alternatives:

  • Josh Atencio (Seattle Sounders FC; Bellevue, Washington)
  • Jacob Davis (Sporting Kansas City; Rochester, Michigan)
  • Johan Gomez (Eintracht Braunschweig/Germany; Keller, Texas)
  • John Pulskamp (Sporting Kansas City; Bakersfield, California)

Olympic men’s soccer is primarily played by players under the age of 23, but teams are allowed three “over-age” players. The three for the U.S. are Walker Zimmerman, 31; Miles Robinson, 27; and Djordje Mihailovic, 25.

While Olympic football may not necessarily feature the top stars of their respective countries, young players who are coming up through the ranks in the sport are given the chance to showcase their talents at international level and compete for a place in their country’s first team, especially if they have not done so yet (a certain Lionel Messi, for example, won gold with Argentina at the 2008 Olympics).

Tanner Tessmann is one to watch for American fans. Tessmann, 22, a midfielder, had a standout season in Italy’s Serie B and, along with club and international teammate Gianluca Busio, helped Venezia return to Italy’s top division.

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