Thursday, November 10, 2011
Olympic qualifiers coming to Carson
By Scott French
CONCACAF's men's qualifying tournament for next year's London Olympics will include three dates at Home Depot Center, U.S. Soccer announced Thursday morning.
One of two four-team groups will be staged at HDC, with doubleheaders March 23, 25 and 27. The other group will play at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., and the semifinals and final will be held at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The final is scheduled for April 2.
The finalists will advance to the London Games.
The group-stage draw will be held following the final round of Caribbean qualifying Nov. 24-28 in St. Kitts & Nevis. Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba and Suriname also are contending for two Caribbean slots, to join the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Central American qualifiers El Salvador, Honduras and Panama among the final eight.
Six nations already have qualified for the 16-team men's tournament in London: a joint Great Britain, as host, along with Belarus, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay.
The U.S. under-23 team, which will form the Olympic squad, is in a 36-man camp in Duisburg, Germany, through Wednesday. Included in the camp are Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin, Galaxy academy midfielder Jose Villarreal (Inglewood/Leuzinger HS) Club Tijuana standout Joe Corona, full U.S. national-teamer Juan Agudelo from the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake's Luis Gil (Garden Grove/Santiago HS) and 1860 Munich's Bobby Wood (Irvine).
CONCACAF's women's qualifiers will be staged Jan. 19-29 in Vancouver. The U.S. is in Group B with Mexico, Dominican Republic and Guatemala; Group A contains Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti. The finalists advance.
Nine of 12 women's qualifiers have been determined: Great Britain, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, France, Japan, North Korea, South Africa and Sweden.