The American men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the third consecutive Olympics, the longest drought in the program between the Olympics in more than 50 years.
Honduras beat the USA 2-1 in one match between winners and Tokyo to culminate in a CONCACAF Olympic qualifier for players up to the age of 24 in Mexico on Sunday.
Honduras, a nation with the population of Michigan, also beat the USA in an Olympic qualifier for the Rio Games 2016.
The US men last played at the Olympic Games in 2008 when an 18-year-old Freddy Adu scored the decisive goal in qualifying. They will miss three consecutive Olympic Games for the first time since 1960, 1964 and 1968 – a route on which the USA did not appear in any World Cup from 1954 to 1986.
The US senior team also failed in 2018 qualified for the last World Cup but has since developed a bevy of young talent. Most of these players were young enough to qualify for the Olympics, but none of the stars from the top European leagues were included in the list.
This is at least partly because the clubs do not have to approve players for the two-week Olympic qualifying (The US also had a training camp prior to the tournament, which started March 1st).
However, some of these stars were absent from their clubs last week due to friendly matches between the European national team against Jamaica and Northern Ireland, including captain Christian Pulisic from Chelsea, Sergiño Dest from Barcelona and Gio Reyna from Borussia Dortmund.
That made for an unusual sight on Sunday – prominent US players did not gather on the field in Guadalajara, but in a hotel in Belfast watch the game in Honduras on a screen after midnight.
The only US Olympic men’s soccer medals came from the St. Louis Games 1904, when all participants won medals when only three club teams from Canada and the USA started.
The men’s Olympic football tournament field includes most of the world powers, representing eight of the last nine world champions.
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