Tokyo Olympics 2020: Top US players unlikely to be sent for men's football tournament, says sporting director Earnie Stewart

The Associated Press

Chicago: If the US qualify for this year's Olympic men's football tournament, they might decide that Christian Pulisic is better off remaining with Chelsea than going to Tokyo.

"We might have the influence of a player going to the Olympics but not playing for a longer period of time leading into World Cup qualifiers and even into a World Cup later on," US Football Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart said Monday.

The US have failed to advance from the region's last two men's Olympic qualifying tournaments, which are limited to players under 23. The Americans are in a difficult group with Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic, starting play 30 March in Guadalajara, Mexico.

While much of qualifying occurs during a FIFA match window, the Americans' 20 March opener against Costa Rica conflicts with club dates. Unlike national teams, clubs do not have to release players for Olympic teams. That means the US could be without its top players under 23, a group that includes Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Sergiño Dest and Josh Sargent.

Stewart spoke during a conference call with new men's national team general manager Brian McBride, who was hired Friday. McBride's contract runs through the 2002 World Cup.

McBride retired as a player after the 2010 season. He met with Jurgen Klinsmann about a possible job when Klinsmann coached the US from 2011-17, but the position never developed.

Also See: North Korea's women's football team withdraws from final round of Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in South Korea

Tokyo Olympics 2020: PV Sindhu sets sights on second medal, says 'pressure and criticism doesn't affect' her

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Exposure to international tournaments has contributed to rise of Indian boxing, says women's coach Mohammed Ali Qamar

Read more on Sports by Firstpost.