For Real Salt Lake's Chris Seitz and Nathan Sturgis, the long Olympic wait is over. For Robbie Findley, the wait only gets longer.
Seitz and Sturgis were named to the 18-man U.S. Olympic soccer team on Thursday by coach Peter Nowak, whereas Findley was named as an alternate.
"It's a great honor; I've been looking forward to this for a long time," said Seitz. "Growing up as a kid, all you think about is the Olympics. You look forward to it, watching it on TV. To go and participate is such a great honor."
Soccer in the Olympics is realistically an under-23 tournament, except for the three overage players each team is allowed to include. Brian McBride, Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst are the three overage players the U.S. National Team is bringing in.
The U.S. team also includes the likes of Freddy Adu, Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore.
"I just glanced at the roster, but I definitely think it's a good team," said Sturgis, whose inclusion isn't necessarily surprising, but a gamble for sure.
Sturgis' status has been in question for months while he recovered from a late-April hamstring injury. He made a brief appearance for RSL in last weekend's match with Columbus and is nearing 100 percent. With his proven versatility both as a midfielder and a defender, Sturgis is a player the coaching staff believes is worth the gamble.
"It shows how highly respected he is and his abilities," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis.
His match fitness obviously isn't where it needs to be, but he'll have several weeks to build that up before the United States' first match on Aug. 7.
The majority of the MLS players will report to Olympic training camp at Stanford University on Sunday. The team will then head to Hong Kong to participate in the ING Cup beginning on July 25. The team opens Olympic group play against Japan on Aug. 7, followed by matches against Nigeria and Netherlands.
"It's a big honor. I'm still trying not to get too far ahead of myself 'cause right now I'm just trying to stay healthy," said Sturgis, who's only played in two matches for RSL this year.
If Sturgis is healthy, he seems like a sure bet to start most of the matches.
Guzan's inclusion as an overage player all but guarantees that Seitz will be relegated to backup duty despite being the No. 1 goalkeeper throughout Olympic qualifying.
"We're in America, where there's a lot of great goalkeepers throughout all age groups," said Seitz. "It's not that big of a surprise. I'll go in there, just put my head down and work hard like I've always been doing, and hopefully we'll see what happens."
The full Olympic consists of the following players:
Goalkeepers: Guzan (Aston Villa), Seitz (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders: Patrick Ianni (Houston), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Parkhurst (New England), Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC).
Midfielders: Adu (Benfica), Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston), Kljestan (Chivas USA), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio).
E-mail: [email protected]