Walker Zimmerman among overage players added to US Olympic soccer roster


Center backs Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic have been selected as overage players for the U.S. Olympic men's soccer team, people familiar with the situation said Saturday.

Olympic men's soccer is an under-23 tournament, but each of the 16 teams is allowed three at-large players. U.S. coach Marko Mitrovic will announce his 18-man U.S. squad and four alternates on Monday.

Zimmerman, 31, is the captain of Nashville SC and was selected for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He is a five-time MLS Best XI selection and two-time Defender of the Year. He was set to be included in the Olympic team after being added to the roster for a friendly against Japan in Kansas City, Kan., last month.

Robinson, 27, is in his first season with FC Cincinnati after six years with Atlanta United. He probably would have been part of the 2022 World Cup squad if not for an Achilles tendon injury. Robinson was in this summer's Copa America squad but did not play.

Mihailovic, 25, is in his first season with the Colorado Rapids after spending a year with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar. Prior to that, he had impressive performances for Chicago Fire and CF Montreal. He has 10 goals and nine assists in 21 games for Colorado.

Mitrovic collaborated for months with senior team coach Gregg Berhalter on roster selection. However, the process is complicated because clubs around the world are not obligated by governing body FIFA to release players for the Olympics, regardless of age.

The Olympics come in the middle of the MLS season, as well as when the Mexican league is resuming and European clubs are preparing to open training camps. Many global stars such as Argentina's Lionel Messi and France's Kylian Mbappe will take time off after competing in the summer's major tournaments, the Copa America and the European Championship.

It is unclear how many American players clubs rejected requests for. However, three people said multiple targets included PSV Eindhoven midfielder Malik Tillman, Coventry City forward Haji Wright and Monterrey forward Brandon Vazquez. Tillman and Wright were on the Copa America roster but did not play until late in the final group match against Uruguay in Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday.

Borussia Dortmund's 21-year-old midfielder Gio Reyna, who played in every match of the Copa America, was in the running but was always considered a long shot.

“There has to be a lot of conversation with the clubs,” Berhalter told The Washington Post in late May. “We have to look at the situation of the players, what they are doing with their clubs next season, and then look at the needs of the Olympic group. So it's important to gather a lot of information in a short period of time.”

In its first Olympics since 2008, the United States will play Group A matches against France on July 24 and New Zealand on July 27 — both in Marseille — before facing Guinea in Saint-Etienne on July 30. Two teams will advance to the quarterfinals.


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