Once again, the U.S. men’s national soccer team does not qualify for the summer Olympics

By Rodrigo Campos-Sánchez
April 29, 2021

Photo of the lighting of the Olympic flames for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.                           (Photo by tokyo2020’s Instagram page)

The United States has won the most medals in the history of the Summer Olympics. Yet, for the third consecutive time, the U.S. men’s national soccer team has failed to qualify for the Summer Olympics. This year, the Summer Olympics will take place in Tokyo, Japan.

The farthest the men’s national team made it in Olympic soccer was by reaching the semi-finals. Before reaching the semi-finals, they defeated Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and lost to México in the qualifying rounds.

At the semi-finals, they then met the Honduran team and lost 2-1. After the loss, the men’s national team did not qualify for the Olympics. For the third time consecutively, the men’s national team has not competed in Olympic soccer.

2020, 2016 and 2012 have not been the only Olympics that the men’s national team has missed. They also have failed to qualify for the Olympics in 2004, 1976, 1968, 1964 and 1960. Most importantly, they also did not qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

The only time the men’s national team won anything in Olympic soccer was in 1904. In 1904, the men’s national team won both silver and bronze. Christian Brothers College won silver and St. Rose Parish won bronze. These two teams represented the men’s national team at the St Louis, Missouri Olympics of 1904. The year 1904 was the first time the Olympic games did not take place in Europe. The men’s national team has not won anything in Olympic soccer since 1904. The last time the men’s national team made an appearance in Olympic soccer was in 2008.

The countries that will take part in the men’s Olympic soccer competition will be México, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, South Africa, Japan, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Romania and Spain.

“The men’s soccer team has always struggled to make it into the Olympics. Yet, the women’s national team always qualifies and predominantly always wins every time. I am on the Cabrini women’s soccer team and I feel that we female athletes need the recognition we deserve,” Kelly Kane, midfield/forward soccer athlete and junior communication major, said.

Reaction of the USMNT failing to classify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo               (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)

“I think the problem is that the men’s national team hasn’t made it to the Olympics for a third consecutive time and still makes more money than the women’s national team. It is an issue that needs to be talked about,” Ally Wojton, defense soccer athlete and junior accounting major, said.

“I feel as though the men’s program needs to step it up and start making changes. On the other hand, the women’s team has figured it out and they know how to win,” Bridget O’Neill, midfield soccer athlete and junior education major, said.

The United States will still have representation in Olympic soccer. The United States women’s national soccer team will be going to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic soccer tournament. The women’s national team won the first Olympic soccer medal in 1996 when women’s soccer became an Olympic sport. The women’s national team has also won gold in women’s Olympic soccer in 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012. 

Celebration of the USWNT in 2012 beating Japan, 2-1 and winning gold.                        (Photo by SB Nation)

“I expected a big change from the men this time around with a younger roster and new coach. To see them not qualify again is super disappointing. Soccer in the US is already super underrated, so it’s upsetting to see them continue to not do well,” Andrea Pezick, defense/midfield soccer athlete and sophomore psychology major, said.

“I don’t usually watch the men’s soccer team. It doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t make it to the Olympics for the third consecutive time because I know they aren’t that good. Unlike the women’s national team, they are very good and do not get the recognition they deserve,” Riley Underwood, midfield soccer athlete and junior human resource management major, said.

Rodrigo Campos-Sánchez

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