What The U.S. Men's Soccer Team Must Do To Qualify For 2020 Olympics

2020 Olympic Soccer
What the U.S. men's national soccer team must do to qualify for 2020 Olympics Zhizhao Wu/Getty

The drawing of teams for the 2020 Men's CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Olympic qualifiers occurred on Thursday, detailing what the U.S team must do to qualify for the 2020 Olympic games.

The tournament, which will take place from March 20 to April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico, features eight teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, who split into two different groups, A and B. The winner from each group will face the runner-up from the opposing group, with the two winners from each side securing a spot to the Tokyo Olympics.

The teams in the men's Olympic tournament are all made up of players under the age of 23 (U-23) but allow up to three slots for players over the age of 23.

The U.S. men's team was placed in Group A along with Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. The four other teams in Group B include Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti.

While the U.S. men's team is looking to qualify for their first Olympics since 2008, Thursday's drawing did not provide them with an easy path. They will face Costa Rica in their first game on Friday, March 20, the Dominican Republic in their second match on Monday, March 23, and their third against Mexico on Thursday, March 26. The U.S. missed the 2012 Olympics after not advancing past the group stage and were knocked out of the 2016 qualifying tournament by Honduras.

In the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, the U.S is undefeated against Costa Rica with a 1-0-1 record and their match against the Dominican Republic will be the program's first in official competition. Arguably their toughest matchup will be against Mexico, who won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. The U.S. is 4-5-3 all-time against Mexico in this tournament.

While the U.S. men's soccer team will be one of the eight teams in the qualifying tournament, other teams have already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, including Spain, Germany, Romania, France, the Ivory Coast, Egypt, South Africa and New Zealand. The qualifying tournament for Asian teams is currently underway and will send three more teams, while Japan received an automatic entry as they are the host for the games.

The U.S. women's national team has also yet to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, but unlike the men, will be looking to secure their fourth overall gold medal. They were knocked out by Sweden in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro but won gold in 2012, 2008, 2004 and 1996.

The CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying is set to take place from January 28 to February 9 in Houston and Edinburg, Texas. Like the men's team, the U.S. women's team was also placed in group A and will face Haiti on Tuesday, January 28, Panama on Friday, January 31 and Costa Rica on Monday, February 3.