Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t want to raise expectations too high for the U.S. Under-23 team.
With Olympic qualifying right around the corner, Klinsmann says it would be a long shot for head coach Caleb Porter’s young squad to win a medal next summer in London.
“Am I saying I want to see them to bring a medal home?” asked Klinsmann, the senior team coach. “I think that would be asking too much if you look at all the teams.”
Klinsmann also believes that the CONCACAF qualifying tournament will be difficult when the U.S. opens its schedule in March. The top teams in the two groups of four will qualify.
With the U.S. and Mexico in different groups, it is expected that the rivals will meet in the final. Mexico is looking like the early favorite as it has set goals of going undefeated in qualification and earning a medal at the Olympics following a strong 2011.
“I would definitely say we have similar goals as Mexico. We want to go through the qualification as smoothly as possible, which won’t be smooth, I’m sure,” Klinsmann said. “But we want to make a statement there as well. Maybe make a statement to Mexico.”
According to a source, England-based Americans are more likely to agree to join the team with the Olympics being held in their own backyards.
“I will feed [Porter] as many as my guys as I can, absolutely,” Klinsmann said.
The U-23 team will play all of its Olympic qualifying group matches at LP Field in Nashville. The team was drawn into Group A and opens against Cuba on March 22. The U.S. faces Canada on March 24 and El Salvador on March 26.
Group B consists of Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. The top two finishers from the each group will advance to the elimination round in Kansas City.
"I think that qualifying for the Olympics is going be hard, but luckily it's in America, which is pretty neat," Shea said. "It's going to be a battle every game. Nothing is guaranteed."