Fresh off of helping the United States successfully qualify for the Olympics, Real Salt Lake players Nathan Sturgis, Chris Seitz and Robbie Findley were back training with their MLS team at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Tuesday.
Sturgis and Findley only got in a light jog, having played 120 minutes in an overtime game on Sunday, whereas Seitz practiced hard along with projected starting keeper Nick Rimando for a solid hour and a half.
The trio won't know for another three or four months whether U.S. coach Peter Nowak will include them in the final Olympic roster, but simply qualifying is satisfaction enough for now.
"It's one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and we've been working hard toward this," Findley said. "It's just a great feeling to qualify."
Of the three, Findley's status seems to be the most uncertain. He started three of the U.S. Under-23 National Team's five matches between Tampa and Nashville, but didn't score any goals. It wasn't for a lack of chances, either, as he failed to convert on several great opportunities.
Despite not scoring, Findley did register an assist on Freddy Adu's goal in the team's first game against Cuba.
"It was frustrating, of course; I should've had a couple of them there, but it's how you come back from those things, it's going to happen you're going to miss some here or there," Findley said.
"It would've been great to get them, but it was what it was and I just have to move on. I think coach Nowak has trust in me and he knows what I'm capable of doing, so I really don't think that hurt me too bad."
Sturgis' status appears to be the most secure. In the past couple of years, whether it was with the L.A. Galaxy or Real Salt Lake in MLS, or the U-20 and U-23 National Teams, he's demonstrated tremendous versatility.
He's been utilized as a left back, a center back, a holding midfielder and an outside midfielder. With such diversity, it's hard to imagine Nowak won't find a spot for Sturgis on his Beijing roster.
"The way I look at it, whatever position the team needs me to play that's where I'll play. With the 23s, they needed me to play outside back because we were pretty deep in center back and midfield is really deep," Sturgis said. "If that's where they need me, as long as I'm on the field I'm happy."
Seitz's future with the team is a bit more muddied. He's definitely the No. 1 goalkeeper with the Under-23s, but that doesn't guarantee him anything in China. All the teams who qualify for the Olympics are permitted to add three overage players to their roster. One of the players rumored to perhaps be added to that list is Tim Howard, the starting keeper for Everton in the English Premier League.
When the time roles around to select the team, the coaching staff may opt to add three field players, at which time Seitz will almost be guaranteed the starting keeper spot."It's a tough job for them, they've got to pick three players to come in and help us in Beijing," Seitz said. "We're going to respect whoever they bring in; it's going to make us better."
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