The United States and the rest of CONCACAF will compete for spots at the 2016 Olympics this October. The confederation announced that it will hold qualifying from October 1-13, as eight countries compete for 2.5 spots in next summer's Games.
The eight-team qualifying tournament will include a group stage, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the semifinals. The winners of each semifinal will automatically qualify for the Olympics, while the semifinal losers will play for the right to take on Colombia in a playoff for an Olympics spot.
In addition to the U.S., Mexico and Canada will also be in the field. Those three will be joined by three teams from Central America and two more from the Caribbean.
CONCACAF had already announced that the U.S. would host the qualifying tournament, although they have yet to determine which cities the matches will be played in. The Americans have hosted the last two Olympic qualifying tournaments as well.
The U.S. failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, in what was considered a major failure for the program. Jurgen Klinsmann has made the U-23 Olympic team a priority in recent years, establishing it as a full-time youth team for the first time, giving them more coaching, training camps and international experience. The hope is that strengthens the squad, which is being managed by senior team assistant Andy Herzog.
The good news this time around is that the group stage finale, semifinals, final and third place game will all be played on a FIFA international date so teams will be able to call up all of their best players. That means that if FC Utrecht does not want to release Rubio Rubin for the entire qualifying tournament, they can be called in without problem for the semifinals. The same is true for Emerson Hyndman and Fulham, DeAndre Yedlin and Spurs, as well as MLS clubs with Luis Gil, Shane O'Neill, Wil Trapp and Dillon Serna. Exactly what the roster rules will be and how it will impact the Americans ability to call up players later is still unclear.