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Robinson, Zimmerman and Mihailovic on US men’s Olympic soccer roster

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tim Weah’s red card against Uruguay and the United States’ first-round exit from the Copa America should be a lesson for players as they head to the Olympics, according to likely captain Walker Zimmerman.

“It’s a great example of how one moment can kind of change your entire outlook on the tournament,” the 31-year-old defender said at a news conference Monday after coach Marko Mitrović announced his 18-man roster. “And so that’s going to be the learning experience from us, is looking at unfortunately what happened to the senior team in that moment and make sure that that doesn’t apply to us in our tournament.”

Zimmerman, fellow defender Miles Robinson and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic will be the three overage players as the U.S. men play in the Olympics for the first time since 2008.

Olympic soccer is limited to players under 23, with each team allowed three over the age limit. The U.S. wild card picks are all from Major League Soccer; FIFA does not require clubs to release players for the Olympics.

“It was actually a really difficult process the last 10 months, first talking to the clubs and trying to get all the players released,” Mitrović said on his 46th birthday during a joint news conference with the women’s team.

The U.S. beat Japan 1-0 in its 2008 opener, allowed a goal in second-half injury time in a 2-2 draw with the Netherlands, then was eliminated with a 2-1 loss to Nigeria after Michael Orozco’s third-minute red card for elbowing an opponent.

“We had an amazing talk with Sacha Kljestan at the last camp, where he came in and told us about his Olympic experience and ultimately how they didn’t get out of their group because of some silly things: a red card, a late goal given up,” Zimmerman said, referring to the former national team midfielder. “That’s going to be a really key point for us, is how we can handle those small moments and make sure we don’t slip up for a dumb reason.”

Defender Maximilian Dietz was added after missing the June training camp ahead of a 2-0 friendly loss to Japan because of a hamstring injury sustained on May 4 with second-division German club Greuther Fürth.

Ten players were dropped from the June roster: defenders Jalen Neal, Bryan Reynolds and Jonathan Tomkinson; midfielders Cole Bassett, Aidan Morris and Rokas Pukštas; and forwards Esmir Bajraktarevic, Cade Cowell, Damion Downs and Johan Gomez.

The U.S. men will train in Bordeaux starting Tuesday. They open on July 24 against host France, then meet New Zealand and Guinea. The top two nations in each group advance to the quarterfinals.

Fifteen players have appeared with the senior national team for a total of 114 international appearances.

Zimmerman took a red eye flight from Portland after Nashville’s Sunday night loss in Major League Soccer. The 31-year-old has 42 international appearances and last played for the U.S. against Canada in the June 2023 CONCACAF Nations League final. Zimmerman captained the national team nine times and played in all four American matches at the 2022 World Cup, starting three.

“My cycle, we didn’t qualify, and that’s when I thought my dream is over: I won’t have a chance to play in the Olympics,” Zimmerman said.

Robinson, a 27-year-old on Cincinnati, was on the U.S. roster for the Copa America but didn’t get any playing time. He has 29 international appearances, scoring the extra-time goal that beat Mexico in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. He missed the 2022 World Cup while recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon.

Mihailovic, a 25-year-old on Colorado, has three goals in 11 international appearances but hasn’t played for the national team since the loss to Panama in the July 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals.

Others with senior national team experience are midfielder Gianluca Busio (13 appearances); defender John Tolkin (four); defender Kevin Paredes (three); forward Taylor Booth, midfielder Tanner Tessmann and defender Caleb Wikey (two each); and forward Paxten Aaronson, defender Benjamin Cremaschi, midfielder Jack McGlynn, forward Duncan McGuire and goalkeepers Patrick Schulte and Gaga Slonina (one apiece).

Dietz, defender Nathan Harriel and forward Griffin Yow have never played for the senior team.

Cremaschi at 19 is the youngest player and also is age eligible for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Aaronson and McGlynn were part of the under-20 team that earned the U.S. Olympic berth in 2022.

Ten players are from MLS, two each from newly promoted Venezia in Italy and the Dutch league and one each from the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Germany second division and Belgium’s top league. All but Dietz played in MLS at some point or in an MLS development academy.

Omissions included Chicago goalkeeper Chris Brady, Salt Lake midfielder Diego Luna and Dallas winger Bernard Kamungo.

Women’s coach Emma Hayes said the four alternates can be made active because of temporary injuries with six hours notice and the active roster can switch for each game.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Patrick Schulte (Columbus), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea)

Defenders: Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Fürth), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia), Miles Robinson (Cincinnati), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)

Midfielders: Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Benjamin Cremaschi (Miami), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado), Tanner Tessmann (Venezia)

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

Alternates: goalkeeper John Pulskamp (Kansas City), defender Jacob Davis (Kansas City), midfielder Josh Atencio (Seattle), forward Johan Gomez (Eintracht Braunschweig)

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

By RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer

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