Team USA Tracker: November 11, 2022
10 Days until World Cup, 620 Days until Soccer kicks off at the Olympics
Can you feel it -Soccer Fever is sweeping the nation!!!
In just 10 Days the US Men’s Soccer #USMNT will play its first World Cup game vs Wales and in 620 days soccer and rugby sevens will kick off the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.
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For those counting like @TeamUSATracker - by the end of the weekend - Team USA will have finished the last two events in 2022 where they could lock down spots at the Paris 2024 games the 2022 CAT Shooting Championships in Lima, Peru and the 2022 Urban Cycling World Championships.
As of Friday morning, Team USA has qualified 71 athlete quota spots -over 10% of the expected size of Team USA in Paris.
Team USA has performed well in qualifying teams in 2022 sending 7 full teams to Paris including men’s soccer which had not qualified for an Olympics since 2008.
🔎#INFOCUS: WORLD CUP FEVER
10 Days until #USMNT play their first game of the World Cup vs Wales
On Wednesday USMNT Roster announced their roster for Qatar - note they could change it up until 24 hours before the game vs Wales if an injury comes up
#USMNT Schedule of Play in Group B
Wales on Monday, Nov. 21 (2 p.m. ET; FOX, Telemundo)
England on Friday, Nov 25 (2 p.m. ET; FOX, Telemundo)
Iran on Tuesday, Nov. 29 (2 p.m. ET; FOX, Telemundo)
If Team USA finishes 1st or 2nd group they will head to the Round of 16 where they will play 1st or 2nd place team in Group A (Netherlands, Qatar, Senegal, Ecuador) depending on their finish.
Some quick thoughts:
How will the USMNT do in Qatar? One of the best pieces on the USMNT this World Cup Cycle was done by Brian Sciaretta who looked at the USMNT and named 9 core players saying the team goes as far as the health and performance of these 9 players- Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, Yunus Musah, Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Tim Weah and Brenden Aaronson. I like the piece because it is a simple concept - Team USA will go as far as their midfielders and wingers can take them. USMNT has a tough pool with all four teams inside FIFA’s top 20 but IF they can advance past the group stage - there is a scenarios where some of the heavy pre tournament favorites like Brazil, France, Spain, and England #USMNT would not have to play until semifinals or finals. The flip side of Brian Sciaretta’s argument which you sometimes see on the dark side of #USMNT twitter is that #USMNT has question marks at Striker and Center Back (largely due to injuries) and that could be crucial in the USMNT not scoring goals or giving up too many goals in the World Cup. Either way- America lets enjoy it - USMNT is in the World Cup for the first time since 2014 and the group of 9 core players mentioned above their average age is only 22 years old so they should all be back for the 2026 World Cup in the United States and possibly play in the 2030 World Cup as well.
Speaking of Injuries - My biggest qualm with the selection show is that injured players who would have made the team-should be named to the World Cup team. USMNT lost two defenders (Miles Robinson and Chris Richards) who likely would have made the USMNT team and could have started if they were healthy. I think both should have been recognized on selection day and named to the team with an official announcement. It is a once in a lifetime experience for these players and Robinson and Richards deserved it playing a big part in helping USMNT qualify.
Stat you will hear at least five times during the first World Cup game: USMNT is very young. USMNT was the youngest nation to qualify for World Cup (average Starting XI 23.82 years old) nearly four years younger than the other 31 nations (average Starting XI age of 27.5). With Miles Robinson (25 years old) being injured and either Tim Ream (35 years old) or Aaron Long (30 years old) starting in his place USMNT’s average age will tick up a little bit (24.09 to 24.72 years old according to my Starting XI projections) but it will still be much younger than a lot of other nations.
The added benefit of youth it should help Team USA with the Paris 2024 Olympics where the men are qualified for the first time since Beijing 2008. 3 players on the USMNT roster are eligible for the Olympics - Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna, Joe Scally plus USMNT can bring 3 age exempt players to Paris so at least one-third of Team USA’s roster in Paris should have World Cup experience. Some of the near misses and final cuts for USMNT Ricardo Pepi, Malik Tillman, and Gaga Slonina are age eligible too for Paris and then add in a deep depth of other age eligible players in Europe and MLS development players -the USMNT could be expected to a strong run at Paris in a sport where the USMNT only medaled at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics which comes with an asterisk* like every medal at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics since only 3 teams and 2 countries competed .
🥇GOLDEN MOMENT: “The Standard is the Standard” and “The Future is Bright”
One team that qualified for the 2024 Paris in October was the USA Women’s Gymnastics doing it in impressive fashion by winning their 6 Straight World Championships GOLD.
It was expected the USA Gymnastics team would qualify for Paris since they had finished in the top 3 now at 11 straight World Championships but the US women brought home 7 medals with 3 gymnasts (Shilese Jones, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey) racking up the hardware and coming home with 3 medals each.
Jade Carey’s 7 world medals puts Carey in Top 5 all time for USA Women’s Gymnastics at Worlds behind Simone Biles (25), Alicia Sacramone (10), Shannon Miller/Nastia Liukin (9). If Jade Carey makes the 2023 Worlds team - Carey would be in striking distance of #2 all time. Chiles and Jones brought home their first individual Worlds/Olympics medals.
Shilese Jones (TM Gold Medal, AA Silver Medal, UB Silver Medal)
Jordan Chiles (TM Gold Medal, VT Silver Medal, FX Silver Medal)
Jade Carey (TM Gold Medal, VT Gold Medal, FX Bronze Medal)
Next up in Gymnastics: the NCAA season. Team Gold medalists Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, and Leanne Wong are all slated to come back and compete in NCAA Gymnastics this year along with Tokyo gold medalist Suni Lee.
The Men’s Gymnastics teams did not finish in the Top 3 to qualify for the Olympics but certainly got USA fans excited for the future. On the final day of competition Brody Malone became the first American gymnast to win a Gold Medal in High Bar since 1979 (Kurt Thomas) and beat Olympic Champ and World Champ Daiki Hashimoto.
The Men’s Gymnastics team did just miss a spot on the podium in All Around as Brody Malone and 18 year old Asher Hong finished 4th and 6th respectively but it was the first time two US male gymnasts were in the Top 10 since 2003 and first time two US male gymnasts were in the Top 6 since 1979.
US Men’s Gymnastics team is in good position to qualify for Paris 2024 with a Top 9 finish at 2023 Worlds (sans China, Japan, Great Britain) as they should bring back Asher Hong, Brody Malone, and add 18 year old Fred Richard (who finished 4th at US Championships right behind Hong and helps the team in multiple events that Team USA put up inconsistent scores at 2022 Worlds). In addition to these 3 solid AA gymnasts- Team USA can fill out the team with 3 prior world medalists Stephen Nedoroscik (PH), Yul Moldauer (FX), and Donnell Whitenburg (VT) and other strong gymnasts like NCAA Champ Paul Juda (who beat Brody Malone at NCAAs), Tokyo Olympian Shane Wiskus and 2022 Worlds team member Colt Walker. The two teenagers Hong and Richard are scheduled to compete at the NCAA level this year along with the NCAA defending All Around podium (Juda, Malone, Raydel Gamboa) and many other US men on the Men’s National Team who compete at Stanford - Walker, Khoi Young, and Riley Loos. Another exciting NCAA Gymnastics season should highlight the US Men’s Gymnastics bright future and a strong team for Team USA to compete for medals at 2023 Worlds and Paris 2024.
📸ICYMI: TRACKING UPDATES FOR TEAM USA
3x3 Basketball: JimmerMania is sweeping 3x3 Basketball. USA Men’s 3x3 Basketball won AmeriCup Gold in Miami with Kareem Maddox, Canyon Barry, Dylan Travis, and 3x3 newcomer and former BYU star Jimmer Fredette leading the way
Go next level with this read from from the Athletic about how Jimmer Fredette got recruited to 3x3 Basketball by Fran Fraschilla. Team USA’s goal is to qualify 3x3 Basketball off ratings and this weekend 3 teams (including Travis’ Omaha3Ball) are playing on the 3x3 Basketball World Tour and Challenger tours to improve player rankings. USA is currently ranked #2 on the men’s side and #3 on the women’s side in 3x3 Basketball which would equal automatic qualification. Note all tournaments on or after November 1, 2022 will count towards Paris qualification.
Beach Volleyball: Tokyo Olympian Kelly Cheng reunited with former partner Sara Hughes. Cheng (née Claes)and Hughes won the NCAA Title in 2016 and 2017 while at USC. They are scheduled to play their first tournament together later in November in Australia. 20 year old Miles Partain and Andy Benesh broke a 3 year gold medal drought for the US Men winning in Dubai in October. It should be an exciting race for US Beach Volleyball Teams as the 2 spots for men and women are wide open with retirements (Jake Gibb, Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena) and injuries/uncertain plans (April Ross, Alix Klienman) and all results post January 1, 2023 will count for Paris 2024 Qualification.
Rugby:US Men’s Eagles Sevens finished 6th at the Hong Kong Sevens the first of 11 tournaments that will count towards Paris 2024 qualification. With the tournament being so close to the World Rugby Sevens - US Men’s Eagles were without 4 Tokyo Olympians still on the team (Stephen Tomasin, Maceo Brown, Kevon Williams, Joe Schroeder) and had 4 players making their international debuts. A top four finish sans France would qualify USA Rugby for Paris 2024.
Surfing: US teen sensation Caitlin Simmers qualified for the WSL Championship tour for the 2nd straight year from the Championship Series. Last year Simmers declined the invitation but with Paris 2024 qualification tied to the 2023 WSL season it will be interesting to watch if Simmers accepts the spot. Kirra Pinkerton who by winning the ISA World Championships gained USA Surfing a possible extra spot for Paris needs to win the final Challenger Tour event to have a shot to qualify for the Championship Tour. If US places 2 surfers in the Top 8 of the Championship Tour during the 2023 season they will automatically qualify themselves for Paris 2024 and a reminder surfing is taking place in Tahiti.
Swimming: Beata Nelson was the top swimmer during the FINA Short Course World Cup circuit 9 gold medals in 12 races. For the Short Course Swimming Worlds in December - Beata Nelson is not currently on the USA swim team because some of the qualification for this team is based off long course times and finishes. Katie Ledecky (also not on the team) participated in short course swimming for the first time in a few years and set two world records during the FINA Short Course World Cup circuit in the 800M and 1500M. Team USA will have a lot of the medalists from Olympics and Worlds including Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Nic Fink, Alex Walsh, Claire Curzan, Torri Huske, Michael Andrew, and Shaine Casas on their Short Course Worlds team in December.
Tennis: Taylor Fritz became the first US man to qualify for ATP Tour Finals (filling in for injured Carlos Alcaraz) since John Isner (when he replaced Nadal) in 2018. Fritz is one of 12 US men in the ATP Top 65.
This is the first time since 2018 that the US qualify a player in the ATP/WTA finals in men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles. In 2018 Mike Bryan/Jack Sock won the ATP Men’s Doubles title which could be a good factor for Rajeev Ram or Austin Krajicek the two men who qualified for the Men’s ATP Doubles finals.
US Women are currently in the Billie Jean King Cup final round with Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins, Taylor Townsend, and Caty McNally trying to beat Czech Republic today to make the semifinals this weekend.
US Men will be in the Davis Cup QFs vs Italy with Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Jack Sock during Thanksgiving week.
Water Polo: Nearly a 10 year Gold Medal Winning Streak by the Dynasty that is US Women’s Water Polo ended in FINA Super League with a semifinal loss and a bronze medal win. Team USA will need a Top 2 finish at the 2023 World Championships to qualify for Paris 2024.
And with 1183 Days until Milano-Cortina 2026 Winter Games…
Winter Sports are back
Curling: Team USA qualified for the 2023 World Championships as Team Dropkin won Bronze at the first ever Pan Continental Championships and Team Peterson took 4th place. Team Shuster also won the Nufloors Penticton Curling Classic the same weekend to enter the Top 20 YTD Curling rankings along with Team Dropkin (who is #7). The Pan Continental Championships just added by World Curling has the United States and Canada matched up with the rest of the world- Asia, Oceania, South America, Africa for 5 World Championships spots.
Figure Skating: ICYMI: Ilia Malinin pulled off what Johnny Weir called the moon landing for Figure Skating at Skate America
Luge: With Women’s Doubles Luge joining the 2026 Olympics as an event and part of team relay.- Three-time Olympian Summer Britcher and two-time Olympian Emily Sweeney will form the third USA Luge on the World Cup tour this year that includes 2 of the top 4 teams from Worlds Championships last year.
Speed Skating: Erin Jackson won a set of medals (gold, silver, and bronze) at the World Skating Games in Argentina and then went directly to Norway for the start of the Speed Skating season this weekend. Jordan Stolz finished 1st in the 1500M while Erin Jackson took 8th in the 500M on Friday.
Kristen Santos-Griswold began the season with 4 medals in 2 World Cup events in Short Track winning bronze in the 500M, 1000M, 1500M, and Team Relay.
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