Gregg Berhalter revealed the players who will join the U23 team for a March Olympic friendly match in preparation for the 2024 Paris Games

The U.S. men’s national team and its under-23 (U23) squads have games to play over the next couple of weeks amid the Nations League tournament and a couple of Olympic friendly matches. 

Speaking during a press conference, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said the overlapping schedule for the two squads has led to the decision not to call up certain players under age 23 to the Nations League roster. 

“We thought it’d be valuable for them to play [Olympic] international games rather than come for the experience of being in the Nations League,” he said. “There is that balance that I think people are going to see even more with the Copa America roster and potentially earmarking some guys for the Olympics, some guys for the Copa America.” 

Players that Berhalter confirmed he left out of the roster so they can join the U23 team are goalkeepers Gabriel Slonina and Patrick Schulte and midfielders Kevin Paredes and Paxten Aaronson

All four players are regular starters for their respective clubs and will join the men’s Olympic soccer team for its upcoming friendlies against Guinea on Friday, March 22, and France on Monday, March 25, further cementing their spots on the team for the 2024 Paris Games. 

Berhalter said he will continue to have conversations with men’s Olympic soccer head coach Marko Mitrovic and his staff to ensure which players are best suited to join either squad.

Teams competing in men’s Olympic soccer are required to take an under-23 team with an allowance for three overage players. The team’s friendly matches against Guinea and France will be its last games until the Paris Olympics. 

“Ahead of the Olympics, it’s important for us to prepare ourselves against a variety of elite opponents,” Mitrovic said. “As one of the best teams in Africa, Guinea will provide a unique challenge and we could very well see them at the Olympics this summer. After the March international window, we’ll have faced teams from four different continents, getting our players experience against opponents at the highest level in this age group from every corner of the globe.”

It will be the first time in 16 years the U.S. men’s team will compete in Olympic soccer after securing its berth by winning the 2022 Concacaf U20 Championship.

Breakdown of players joining the Olympic team

Gabriel Slonina

Soccer player standing with gloves on.
United States goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina (23) stands on the field during warmups prior to the match against Canada at TQL Stadium.

Slonina, 19, was signed by Premier League club Chelsea FC for $10 million from MLS side Columbus Crew in August 2022. He didn’t meet up with the Chelsea FC team until the next year and was sent out on loan to Belgian side K.A.S. Eupen for the 2023-24 season. 

He is currently the starting goalkeeper for K.A.S. Eupen and has made more than 25 appearances. 

In January 2023, Slonina became the youngest goalkeeper to play for the USMNT during the team’s 2-1 friendly loss against Serbia.

Patrick Schulte

Goalkeeper controlling a soccer ball.
USA goalkeeper Patrick Schulte (1) controls the ball in the first half against Slovenia at Toyota Field.

Schulte, who will be 24 at the start of the Games, will be one of the overage players on the roster. He’s the starting goalkeeper for the Columbus Crew in the MLS and a former first-round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft. He has made 35 appearances with the club and helped them win the 2023 MLS Cup title. 

Schulte made his debut with the U.S. senior team in an international friendly against Slovenia back in January.

Kevin Paredes 

Soccer player for the U.S. men's national team.
United States midfielder Kevin Paredes (22) controls the ball against Oman during the second half at Allianz Field.

Paredes joined Bundesliga club Vfl Wolfsburg from MLS’ D.C. United after a reported fee of around $7.35 million in January 2022. The 20-year-old made his debut for the club in April of that same year and scored his first goal in January 2023 as a substitute. 

Since the start of the 2023-24 Bundesliga Season, Paredes has logged 21 appearances for Vfl Wolfsburg, scoring two goals. 

The 20-year-old has three caps for the U.S. men’s national team, with his first two occurring in August 2023. 

Paxten Aaronson 

Soccer players dribbling with the ball.
USMNT midfielder Paxten Aaronson pursues the ball during a friendly match against Colombia.

Paxten Aaronson is the younger brother of Brenden Aaronson, the latter of whom is a regular call-up for the U.S. men’s senior team. 

Aaronson is currently on loan to Dutch club Vitesse from Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt. The 20-year-old first made his move to Europe after transferring from the Philadelphia Union to Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported $4 million fee. He made his debut for the club in March 2023. 

However, Aaronson was loaned out to Vitesse during the January transfer window. At Vitesse, he is a regular starter and has made five appearances in the Eredivisie, scoring two goals. 

He made his debut for the U.S. men’s national team during a friendly match against Colombia in January 2023.