Soccer: USA to Host Olympic Qualifying Tourney for Rio Games
18 Feb, 2015
The USA will again host the Concacaf U-23 Championship that determines qualifiers for the Olympic Games. Host cities have not been announced for the Oct. 1-13, eight-team tourney from which two teams will earn spots in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The third-place team will move into a playoff against Colombia for one additional spot.
The FIFA fixture window for October is Oct. 5-13, so teams will be able to get players released for the last nine days of the tournament.
Kansas City, Los Angeles and Nashville hosted the 2012 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship at which the USA failed to advance out of group play, while Mexico and Honduras earned spots in the London Olympics, where Mexico took the gold medal.
The North American trio of host USA, Canada and Mexico are automatic qualifiers for this year’s Concacaf Championship. They will be joined by three Central American nations and two from the Caribbean, with qualifiers in those regions to be disputed in coming months.
The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four with top finishers advancing to the semifinals. Semifinal winners earn berths the Olympic soccer tourney in Brazil, where the U-23 teams may add three overage “wild card” players. The third-place finisher faces Colombia, which finished second to Argentina at the U-20 South American championship earlier this month, in a qualifying playoff.
"We are looking forward to hosting the Olympic Qualifying Championship and showcasing the quality of soccer in the region," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a press release. "The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes from across North, Central America and the Caribbean compete for the opportunity to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games."