Kevin Paredes, Griffin Yow Named to U.S. Olympic Men’s Soccer Team

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

The wingers were among 18 players named Monday to the U.S. men’s national team, which is making its first appearance at the Summer Olympics since 2008. The 16-nation tournament is open only to players 23 and under, with three exemptions per team.

Paredes (South Riding) and Yow (Clifton) have been part of the youth selection for some time. But because the football association FIFA does not require clubs to release players for the Olympics, Paredes needed permission from Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga and Yow from the Belgian club Westerlo to join the American selection.

Several clubs have rejected a number of player requests from American coach Marko Mitrovic, including midfielder Aidan Morris (Middlesbrough) and attackers Haji Wright (Coventry City) and Brandon Vazquez (Monterrey), according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

Several players who were in contention for the title, such as Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah, were not eligible for a call-up due to the demands of the club in pre-season and their participation in the Copa América with the national team this summer.

“It was actually a very difficult process in the last eight to 10 months, talking to the clubs and trying to release all the players,” Mitrovic said. “Yes, there were challenges, but we ended up with a squad that we really believe can represent us in the best possible way and I have a very good feeling about the team going to Paris.”

The U.S. team reports to training camp in Bordeaux, France this week. The group stage begins July 24 against France in Marseille, followed by New Zealand on July 27 in Marseille and Guinea on July 30 in Saint-Etienne. Two advance to the quarterfinals.

Since the age limit was introduced in 1992, the U.S. men have only advanced past the group stage at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where they finished fourth.

All but three of the US players drafted have played for the national team.

Paredes and Yow are among eight European-based players headed to the Olympics. Last season — his second full campaign in Germany since United signed him for a club-record $7.35 million in January 2022 — Paredes scored three goals in 28 league games (15 starts).

This summer he was a candidate for selection for the Copa América, but American national coach Gregg Berhalter decided to keep him for the Olympic Games.

Yow, who moved to Belgium in July 2022, has scored seven goals in 28 league games this season (25 of which as a starter).

The remaining 10 American players come from MLS teams, including all three selections who are over 18 years old: center backs Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) and Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati) and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids).

Zimmerman, 31, and Robinson, 27, started six 2022 World Cup qualifying games together and eight times overall. Zimmerman started at the World Cup in Qatar, while Robinson missed the tournament with an Achilles injury. Mihailovic, 25, has made 11 first-team appearances and is having a stellar MLS season with 10 goals and nine assists.

The squad also includes midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi, who was the youngest selection at 19. In his second season with the Inter Miami first team, Cremaschi was coached by Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.

Goalkeepers: Gabriel Slonina (Chelsea), Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew).

Defenders: Maximilian 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).

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

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

Alternatives: 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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