March 24, 2008
NASHVILLE, TN – The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team clinched a berth to the 2008 Olympic Games in after defeating Canada, 3-0, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., in the semifinals of CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying.
The victory marks the 13th time the U.S. will get the chance to compete for a medal at the Olympic Games on the men’s side. The 2008 Beijing Olympics will be played from Aug. 8-24 in five venues, and will mark the USA’s first trip to the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2000.
Two former Clemson players Nathan Sturgis and Stuart Holden are on the US Under-23 Men’s National Team. Sturgis played at Clemson in 2004 and 2005 and was named All-American by Soccer America, the NSCAA (Third-Team), and College Soccer News (Second) in 2005. He was named first-team All-ACC and All-South in 2005. Sturgis was named the ACC’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 2005.
Holden played at Clemson in 2003 and 2004. He was named second team All-ACC in 2004.
Clemson has had five other former soccer players in previous Olympics. They include: Jamie Swanner (1984), Bruce Murray (1988), Eric Eichmann (1988) Miles Joseph (1996) and Imad Baba (1996).
“I was really proud and pleased to see everything that we had discussed before this kind of tournament come to fruition,” said U.S. head coach Peter Nowak. “I think that from the beginning to the end there was only one team that was going to win this game, and it was us.”
The U.S. joins 14 other teams who have already entered the 16-team tournament, with one spot still up for grabs for a team from Africa. The draw for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament will take place on April 20 in Beijing.
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