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Nowak to Guide Olympic Squad?

I am hearing that Peter Nowak, former MLS star, former United coach and current national team assistant, will indeed oversee the U.S. under-23 (Olympic) team and prepare a squad to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. Speculation has been out there for months, so it would not come as a surprise. No confirmation from the USSF and no comment from Nowak's N.Y.-based agent, Ron Waxman.

CONCACAF qualifying will take place early next year at a U.S. site (or sites) to be determined. I heard Tampa mentioned, but I don't know if it will actually be held there. One of the difficulties for the U.S. team will be getting players released from European clubs because it's not a senior international competition.

In 2000, the Americans qualified for the Sydney Games after finishing second to Honduras in Hershey, Pa., and four years later, they lost to host Mexico in the semifinals and were eliminated from contention.

For 2008, CONCACAF will again have two of the 16 participants. (The women's event has been expanded from 12 teams to 16.) Brazil, Argentina, China, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Serbia have already secured spots in the men's tournament.

Soccer America magazine had a nice spread last week on U.S. Olympic hopefuls and listed many players from the current U-20 team (Adu, Bradley, Zizzo, Altidore, Seitz, Rogers), as well as Jonathan Spector, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Klejstan, Charlie Davies and Lee Nguyen, who have all been capped by the senior national team. To be eligible, a player had to have been born after Jan. 1, 1985. Teams that qualify have the option of adding three overage players for the final tournament.

By Steve Goff  |  August 6, 2007; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

At the risk of getting slammed again, I'm going to venture a comment on Freddy Adu getting called up to a Nowak-led U23 squad... Will Peter call him in just to sit him on the bench to teach Freddy "who's the boss?" ;-)

Posted by: Soy United! | August 6, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Where are you, d?


;-D

Posted by: Soy United! | August 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Soy, you stole my thunder... do you think Nowak still has his head that far up his a$$, or will he finally allow us to see the future of U.S. Soccer? Like it or not, Freddy's the future (along with Jozy).

Posted by: jrnail | August 6, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Adu is not the same player as when Nowak first had him as a 14-16 year old on his roster in DC.

If Freddy can get released from his club in Europe, I doubt Nowak (or any Olympic coach) would not give Freddy lots of playing time and a chance to have a leading role on the squad.

Posted by: Gold time | August 6, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Nowak/Adu WAR. Part Deux...

Posted by: justsayin' | August 6, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Nowak handled Freddy fine, when he was here. Adu has obviously grown and developed in the last . . . how long has he been gone? A good percentage of his short life, at any rate.

Anyway, interesting that the Olympics are only a year (and 20,000,000 tons of Beijing car exhaust) away, but we don't even have a site for the qualifiers yet.

Three overage players, let's see . . . who could play the grizzled vet role like Agoos did in Australia . . .

Posted by: gringo | August 6, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Part III featuring the USMNT coming soon to theater in 2009.

Posted by: justsayin' | August 6, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Grizzled vet; international experience; able to get away from his team . . .
VANNEY!

Posted by: gringo | August 6, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I've never understood the "three overage players" exception. How did it come about and what is the point? It almost seems as if a long time ago some countries couldn't find enough players under 23. I presume it was a compromise from allowing players of any age, which could mean just running out your World Cup squad and calling it the Olympic Team. Does someone have the answer?

Posted by: tcal | August 6, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I would assume that the overage player rule is all about marketing. They want a little more "star-power" to sell tickets.

Posted by: tcal | August 6, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If you're calling Vanney in, let's call in Keller and Cobi Jones as well. Better yet...

Donovan, Beijing on Line 1.

Posted by: B.A. | August 6, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated to the Nowak/Olympic talk but with 'the word' being that Becks will be out at least 10 more days (so myabe missing Thursdays game versus DC and the Revs game this weekend -- making a potential debut around the time of the SuperLiga game versus DC midmonth) does that put pressure on BSPN to televise this game too? lol :)

Posted by: RIP General | August 6, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I always thought it wasn't marketing but was something FIFA imposed to make the tournament the second most prestigious after the World Cup. I would even hazard to say that they've done well on that.

But it's not the IOC that's imposed this limit, it's FIFA. And by making it the U-23 team but with a little more, it's making sure the World Cup is still the premier tournament but that this one will have more catchet.

I can also see some logic in the marketing thing, but I think that's a side effect. Or am I just buttressing tcal's point?

Posted by: G-Unit | August 6, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I always thought it wasn't marketing but was something FIFA imposed to make the tournament the second most prestigious after the World Cup. I would even hazard to say that they've done well on that.

But it's not the IOC that's imposed this limit, it's FIFA. And by making it the U-23 team but with a little more, it's making sure the World Cup is still the premier tournament but that this one will have more catchet.

--------

Exactly.

Posted by: Goff | August 6, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly (and that is a lot to ask of this grizzled vet), the 3 over-age players rule is a compromise between the IOC and FIFA. FIFA only wants U23 in the Olympics to safeguard the WC and the IOC wanted any age (i.e., more stars/experienced players), so they compromised on 3 over-age players for the qualified teams. Nations still have to qualify with only U23 players, tho. Somebody help me out here... Anybody?

Posted by: Soy United! | August 6, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, this grizzled vet cannot type anywhere near as fast as the Reporter. ;-)

Posted by: Soy United! | August 6, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I was certain I'd heard that the 3 overage players had been dropped from the Olympic format. However, I checked FIFA's docs on the upcoming tournament and 3 overage players are still included. Personally, I hate that.

Posted by: Postmaster | August 6, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It looks like tcal just answered his own question.

It proably was also some kind of deal between IOC and FIFA, but I like the grizzly veteran thing. It's more fun than just the U23's. It just adds another dimension.

Posted by: David | August 6, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Grizzled Vet...Benny Olsen!

Posted by: Benny Goes for Gold | August 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think NOWAK is the wrong guy for the job. I'm tired of these British taking control of our National Teams (Bradley and Arena the exception) and doing crap with them. I rather a US born coach or some Brazilian or Argentinan coach lead this team. These Britts try to take away the JOGA Bonito from the game and try to make it a Hockey game. We are not going anywhere playing that rough grind it out style of play. That is out, can't stand a lick of their English and sad part is that is their native tounge. Anyways this Idiot Nowak will not do justice to Adu. It won't be right and will not let Adu develop. I hate NOWAK.

Posted by: Julio | August 6, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Agoos, Harkes, and Richie Williams.

Posted by: So Md | August 6, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Julio,

Nowak is Polish. So that might make it harder for you to understand him.

And, the U.S. has done really well with the counterattacking style. In fact, that's what Chelsea and catenaccio in Italy are all about. Take the system, be solid in the back, and then let a few creative players up front do all the damage. The U.S. might be getting these guys in Freddy, Jozy and others coming up. But you have to have a solid back four, five or six, and then go forward.

Posted by: G-Unit | August 6, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

B.A., I was thinking that Donovan would not be able to get away from his team, as "just wait till next year" has already begun for LAG.

Olsen would probably be good. Maybe Hejduk . . . I know a lot of Insiderers don't like him much, but he's experienced, and teams will probably not want to part with top-shelf guys like EJ or Ching in September (assuming Nowak would want them).

I know we still have to qualify, should not count unhatched chickens, but this always strikes me as one of the more interesting roster questions in tournament soccer . . .

Posted by: gringo | August 6, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"B.A., I was thinking that Donovan would not be able to get away from his team, as "just wait till next year" has already begun for LAG."

But I thought they weren't going to be able to keep both LD and Becks because Landon is grandfathered in for this year with his DP salary but next year he will count as a DP. Unless LA manages to get a slot in trade from some one else which I assume will be very costly since they are over a barrel. Or MLS will just change the rules again. Maybe they will ship him back to San Jose.

Posted by: Glenn | August 6, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

gringo: Yeah, I was joking about Donovan.

I'd imagine that the most likely use of those over-23 slots would be for MLS or Scandinavian based players in the 24-26 age range on the cusp of entering the Senior team pool. Recognizable names, but not players currently able to obtain a roster spot for matches on non-mandated days.

Martino, Parkhurst, Arturo Alvarez, Jaqua, Burch, Rolfe, O'Rourke... Someone along these lines.

Posted by: B.A. | August 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Please God, if you have any mercy, no Jaqua ....

Posted by: G-Unit | August 6, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I think it'll be interesting to see what happens in Adu/Nowak Part II. During Adu's interview on Washington Post Live, he said a ton about Nowak without saying anything about Nowak (know what I mean?). He adroitly didn't specifically answer questions about his relationship with Piotr. He'd obviously been schooled on how to diplomatically "answer" those questions.

I agree Freddy should be playing for the Olympic squad and I'm sure he will be, but I'd also guess there will be some tension between these two, and Nowak won't tolerate that. Freddy's mutured emotionally and in his playing, so we'll see what happens.

Posted by: Beaker | August 6, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"Martino, Parkhurst, Arturo Alvarez, Jaqua, Burch, Rolfe, O'Rourke... Someone along these lines."

BA - do you really think that this collection of MLSers is better than what we already have at the U23 level? If those are our choices, I'd rather not send three old dudes. But I do see your angle there.

My choices - Benny, Twellman or EJ, and DeMerrit.

Posted by: London Dan | August 6, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Send Julio to hospital

Posted by: Piotr | August 6, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The O-23 slots should go to:

1. A GK: Pick one. Howard, Reis, and any a few others are way better than the U-23 GKs.

2. Twellman: It's the last he'll see of int'l play beyond CONCACAF.

3. Jay Heaps: Hopefully the Chinese will arrest him and throw him in a prison where the closest he'll get to soccer is sewing knock-off replicas.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 6, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Soy United!:If I remember correctly (and that is a lot to ask of this grizzled vet), the 3 over-age players rule is a compromise between the IOC and FIFA. FIFA only wants U23 in the Olympics to safeguard the WC and the IOC wanted any age (i.e., more stars/experienced players), so they compromised on 3 over-age players for the qualified teams. Nations still have to qualify with only U23 players, tho. Somebody help me out here... Anybody?


That is exactly the way I remember it from the dead-tree SoccerAmerica days. The other aspect was that the UEFA clubs didn't want their stars getting worn out or injured in the Olympics. I know some teams still won't send people who haved been capped by their senior national team. One more last tidbit if I remember right is that you can't have played in a previous Olympics without being a Wild Card, even if under 23.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 6, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Why send a senior keeper when we've got Seitz? He should get playing time at major competitions like the Olympics. He is the future of American keeping after all.

Posted by: CY | August 6, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If I were the coach, this would be my line up for the tournament


Guzan

Wynne Spector Simek

Feilharber Clark

Alvarez Nguyen

Adu

Altidore Davies


Bench:

Seitz
Zizzo
Bradley
Findley
Harrington
Edu
Rogers
Kljestan
Hill

**I dontknow this is what I was thinking....If yall were to be coach who would you bring??

Posted by: Luis | August 6, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

If I were the coach, this would be my line up for the tournament


.................Guzan

.......Wynne....Spector..... Simek

..........Feilharber....Clark

Alvarez........................Nguyen

...................Adu

...........Altidore...Davies


Bench:

Seitz
Zizzo
Bradley
Findley
Harrington
Edu
Rogers
Kljestan
Hill

**I dontknow this is what I was thinking....If yall were to be coach who would you bring??

Posted by: Luis | August 6, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

One more last tidbit if I remember right is that you can't have played in a previous Olympics without being a Wild Card, even if under 23.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 6, 2007 04:54 PM
-------
So, if LeesburgSoccerFan is correct, then would you send Adu now with less European seasoning or wait until 2012 when he'll be a grizzled vet (I just can't stop using this phrase... help me) with loads of European seasoning?

Posted by: Soy United! | August 6, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Why send a senior keeper when we've got Seitz?"

To organize the defense. The U20 defense looked pretty confused at times.

"would you send Adu now with less European seasoning or wait until 2012"

Now. He should beon track for the 2010 WC, not the 2012 Olympics. Same goes for Jozy.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

nowak would be perfect for that job. nowak has produced winner after winner.

If Freddie can't play for him fine - stay home and feel sorry for yourself. I hope Freddie's European experience will force him grow up and lose his entitlement attitude.

Posted by: bobF | August 7, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Why the Nowak bashing? He made DC the most attractive and feared team in the league for 3 seasons. The rest of the league had to up their game significantly just to keep things competitive. Nowak is a fantastic coach. Period.

Also, I don't know how you guys forget, but Adu played significant minutes in Nowak's last season. The reason Freddy rode the pine so much his first season is that he didn't understand the angles on offense, and he didn't play any defense at all. He got better every season, and Nowak rewarded that. He'll be on the Olympic squad, he'll start, and he'll play tons of minutes whether Nowak is the coach or not.

Posted by: Matt | August 7, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. One factor is that this is almost certainly the best Olympic team we've ever had. We'll be *cutting* guys who are good pros. In the lineup, we'll have to make decisions like Rogers vs Nguyen vs Alvarez vs Stuart Holden, or Hill/Findley/Altidore/Davies or Fielhaber/Szetela/Edu/Bradley/Kljestan. Wynne vs Freeman. The choices go on and on, and it's an awesome problem to have.

Given that, and given the *cultural* relevance the Olympics still have in America, I say we go for a medal and bring the best we've got to offer for O-23s: say Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, and some veteran presense in defense in the form of Jimmy Conrad.

Posted by: S- | August 7, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

This being a mostly U-23 competition, I don't see the need to waste an overage spot on a keeper. If Seitz goes and the big clubs don't waste an overage slot on a keeper, he could easily be the best keeper at the Olympics.

I would rather see our three slots go to players that will act as the leadership backbone for the team... something that's usually lacking on younger squads who don't play with one another year round.

Work horse guys like Conrad, Olsen and Heyduk also have the ability to surpress the young attacking players of other teams.

Posted by: swwj | August 7, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Ron Waxman looks and sounds like a porn name.

Posted by: sitruc | August 7, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Start Seitz. He's good and needs the experience. I'd like to see Conrad, Ricardo Clark, and maybe one dangerous offensive winger or forward (justin mapp maybe) as the overage spots. Luis had a pretty good lineup though I might start Bradley for Alvarez and push Feilhaber up to attacking mid.

Posted by: robinho | August 7, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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