Team USA’s Olympic men’s soccer team won’t feature stars like Christian Pulisic, here’s why

If you’re a casual American soccer fan then you might be asking yourself, “Why is Pulisic not playing in Olympics? Where are the star players?”

This article is here to help. The 2024 Olympics will see some big-name countries like France, Argentina, Spain and the United States competing for gold. There will be a twist however as the recognizable names like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Christian Pulisic won’t be playing.

Why is Pulisic not playing in Olympics along with other big names?

FIFA don’t want the Olympics to compete with the men’s World Cup for popularity and attention and do so by restricting players from competing in the Summer Games. 

The big rule that prevents stars from participating in the Olympics is that only players 23 years old or younger can partake in the men’s soccer tournament. The rule doesn't apply for women's teams who bring senior squads to the Olympics.

Each country is allowed to bring three overage players to the Olympics for the men's soccer tournament, however none of the big American names will compete this summer.

The three overage American players on the United States’ roster are defenders Walker Zimmerman (31), Miles Robinson (27) and attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (25).

The rest of the squad comprises of players either 23 years old or younger with the majority playing for teams in Major League Soccer.

The likes of Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie won’t go to the Olympics due to playing in the Copa América earlier this summer and getting ready for preseason with their European clubs.

Clubs not allowing players to compete in the Olympics is another obstacle. Haji Wright, 26, was supposed to be one of Team USA’s overage players, however his club Coventry City didn’t approve him playing in the Olympics.

The U.S. will meet some of the biggest names in the 2024 tournament during their opener against France, coached by Thierry Henry. Two of the tournament’s most recognizable names, Alexandre Lacazette and Michael Olise, will compete for the host nation.

Team USA will face France, New Zealand and Guinea in the group stage with the top two teams advancing to the knockout stages.

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