MIAMI (AP) — Men’s Olympic soccer qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean was rescheduled Thursday for March 18-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the tournament originally was set to be played last spring.
The U.S., which failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is in Group A of CONCACAF with Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and and Haiti are in Group B.
Each nation will play the other three teams in its group, with the exact schedule still to be announced. The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners qualify for the Tokyo Games.
Matches will be played at Jalisco and Akron stadiums.
The U.S. had been scheduled to play Costa Rica last March 20, the Dominican Republic three days later, and Mexico on March 26, but the CONCACAF tournament was postponed on March 13 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The men’s Olympic soccer tournament was postponed a year — to July 21 through Aug. 7, 2021.
FIFA has kept the same eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997. Clubs are not required to release players to teams for qualifying, so many top young players are expected to miss the tournament.
U.S. under-23 coach Jason Kreis does not expect players who are club regulars to be made available, a group that includes Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest and Gio Reyna.
Women’s Olympic qualifying in CONCACAF took place before the pandemic. The defending champion U.S. and Canada qualified.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports