Williams added to official U.S. U-23 Olympic qualifying roster


photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. Under-23 men's national team tasked with reaching this summer's Olympics is set, and the lone addition to the preliminary squad is Sheanon Williams.

The Philaelphia Union right back was summoned by head coach Caleb Porter on Tuesday to replace defender Josh Gatt, who was recalled by his club this past weekend.

With the CONCACAF deadline to submit rosters now in the rear-view mirror, no more changes can be made to the 20-man squad, which will be captained by Freddy Adu.

Here is the official roster:

GK- Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson

D- Perry Kitchen, Ike Opara, Zarek Valentin, Kofi Sarkodie, Jorge Villafana, Sheanon Williams

M- Freddy Adu, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Michael Stephens, Amobi Okugo, Jared Jeffrey

F- Terrence Boyd, Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, Joe Gyau, Teal Bunbury, Tony Taylor

The U.S. team's Group A opponents, Canada, El Salvador and Cuba, also finalized their roster at the CONCACAF deadline.

The United States begins its Olympic qualifying by facing Cuba on March 22, followed by a game versus Canada two days later. The Americans close out their group games on March 26 against El Salvador.

All games will be played at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The matches will be aired live on Universal Sports Network, mun2 and streamed live on concacaf.com


What do you think of the addition of Williams? Wish someone else would have been summoned, or are you happy with the selection? Do you see this team qualifying for the Olympics?

Share your thoughts below.

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52 Responses to Williams added to official U.S. U-23 Olympic qualifying roster

  1. James says:

    There has been a lack of good news this season so far for the Union so I’ll take this as some good news for once. I hope he does well for himself.

  2. Chef says:

    It was always going to be S. Williams or Garza. I know someone will chime in with a call for Wooten when we already have enough attacking players or Morales who wasn’t going to be released for qualifying anyway or Preston Zimmerman…

  3. okifeelthat says:

    Didnt really watch the sub-23 games with the exception of the Mexico game, what would you guys say is the weakest position for us?

  4. footyskillz says:

    Defense for sure.

  5. johnny utah says:

    Actually it was Williams or Andrew Jean-Baptiste…

  6. Dakota Sillyman says:

    Somewhere in defense probably center back or left back.

  7. Nate says:

    My line-up for qualifying:






    – Corona for Jeffery (Could be Stephens but I wouldn’t)
    – Agudelo for Gyau or Boyd, whoever isn’t playing as well.

    I’ll save my third sub for injury/tactical adjustment

  8. Mike Vann says:

    Williams should have been there from the get-go. That’s not to say instead of Gatt because he’s clearly the best U-23 we have, in my opinion. Sarkodie is the weakest of the backline and I’m not really sold of him. Nonetheless, we have a vey strong side and I think it wonderful that we have a deep pool and that some quality players are left on the outside looking in.

  9. Drew says:

    Corona isn’t a good enough defensive player to have a midfield of him, Mix, and Adu. Morales is the guy who made that work. Think we will see Okugo.

  10. Der Kaiser says:

    Pay attention to current events in the news, Chef. Wooten is coming off the bench for 1.FCK. After being among lead leaders in Regionalliga scoring, coupled with his potential, why on earth would Lautern, Wooten or even Porter risk that opportunity for him? Even though he deserves it, Porter knows better. Good on him for not pushing the envelope with Wooten’s club.

    Get a clue.

  11. Dimidri says:

    Any chance Sean Johnson gets the nod at keeper? I know he looked a bit shifty against Mexico, but I thought he clearly played better in the Panama game out of the two and still came up with some good saves against Mexico.

    If the US makes it to the final, I wonder if Porter will put in the back-up a la Oliver Kahn in 06 in the 3rd place game since the important stuff has already been decided.

  12. @camparkinson says:

    I don’t think Sarkodie should start, he’s looked like the worst player in the games/highlight clips I’ve seen of this group.

    I have no idea why Williams wasn’t in here already and happy for him, but you gotta think he’s not likely to start if Porter thinks he’s #20 on this roster… right?

    I’d rather see Williams over Sarkodie but I think Porter will go with this lineup:






    It wouldn’t surprise me to see Porter bench Gyau and put Adu at LF/LW and Corona in the CAM spot, but I really hope not Gyau needs to be on the field.

  13. wilyboy says:

    I would have no problem with Johnson starting- if we didn’t have Bill Hamid. Hamid destroys any need to have Guzan or any older goalkeeper step in, because he is a monster. He makes athletic saves as well as any I know, and he makes them look easy. He kept DC scoreless against a rampant SKC team, and was only foiled by Sapong’s unstoppable header.

    This kid isn’t just good. Tim Howard sees him as his pupil.

  14. Ryan says:

    I agree with this lineup, but i could also see Porter starting Agudelo in place of Boyd just for the fact that Boyd wont be getting there until the day before the game.

  15. Patrick says:

    What’s the deal with overage players? Is that not a thing during qualifying, just during the actual Olys?

  16. Matt says:

    No way Jefferey is starting whatsoever, Okugo (other people mentioned him) too many strong options.

    G- Hamid
    D- Williams
    D- Kitchen
    D- Opara
    D- Valentin
    M- Diskerud
    M- Adu
    M- Shea
    F- Gyau
    F- Boyd
    F- Agudelo
    Corona is great, would love to see him but have to include all strikers, can’t see anyone (not including defense) besides Corona or Bunbury coming off the bench.

  17. pancholama says:

    The overage players won’t figure into the mix until the final Olympic roster is announced – after CONCACAF qualifying.

  18. Chef says:

    Umm get a clue? I was saying we shouldn’t bring him in. Easy there killer.

  19. Mike in Missouri says:

    Well, we’re going to score a lot of goals and let in a bunch as well.

  20. wilyboy says:

    As evidenced by the number of shutouts this squad has posted in the last two months.

    Seriously, the last goal scored against them was a scrimmage against FC Dallas. You know, grown @## men who are currently doing very well in a tough Western conference. Their backline held up very well against Mexico, who many predicted would scorch us.

  21. 2tone says:

    If want to call giving up 1 goal in 4 friendlies a weakness than go a head. Also they shut out a potential potnet offense in Mexcio as well. The weakest link is Bunbury. But we probably won’t see much of him. I like Bunbury, but he just isn’t there yet.

  22. 2tone says:

    Nope Williams will not be starting over Sarkodie and Valentin will continue to be the LB. Starting Line-up against Cuba.
    Sarkodie, Opara, Kitchen, Valentin
    Subs: Johnson, Williams, Villafana, Jeffrey, Corona, Boyd, Taylor
    Boyd will be a little travel weary from coming in on Wednesday for him to actually start against Cuba on Thursday. But look for him to replace Agudelo around the 70 minute mark.

  23. 2tone says:

    Quite clearly the most unfounded statement in here. I concur with Wilyboy. This Defense has been very good and the only goal against them came from Dallas and the U-23’s were down to 9 men. Not only that they shutout Mexico which by the way has a very good attack. This defense will be just fine.

  24. Chef says:


  25. b says:

    1. LB (Villafana then Valentin): no other LBs in the U-23 pool, Porter needs to bring in an overage player here for the actual Olympics, either Fabian Johnson or Lichaj.

    2. CB (Opara and Kitchen then Valentin): Opara is fine but Kitchen is a defensive midfielder. No others in the pool, Porter needs to use an overage player here, Bocanegra or Ream or Cameron or Goodson.

    3. RB (Sarkodie then Sheanon Williams): Sarkodie can’t defend and Williams can’t attack, but fortunately a position of weakness becomes one of our strengths at the Olympics when Timmy Chandler takes over.

  26. b says:

    Bunbury is garbage, but he is not a “position”… No way he makes the actual Olympic roster, with Boyd and Agudelo being joined by Altidore, Wooten, and Gatt, the roster being trimmed by two spots, plus overage players being added (probably one of Dempsey/Donovan).

  27. b says:

    RB: And we even save a roster spot as winger Gatt most likely backs up Chandler. I don’t expect to see either Sarkodie or Williams at the Olympics.

    Aside from those three positions, this team has no weaknesses. In addition to adding Altidore, Chandler, Danny Williams, Morales, Duka, Wooten, and Gatt into the mix for the Olympics, we don’t even need to use the traditional overage goalkeeper given our strength at the position, meaning after the holes at LB and CB are filled the third guy is a luxury.

  28. b says:

    I think this lineup is most likely spot on for the first game. After that expect changes, 3 games in under two weeks means nearly everyone on the roster will get in there at some point.

  29. b says:

    I love Gatt but “best U-23 we have” is ridiculous on so many levels. Forgetting about all the other positions where we are stacked with talent: First, other wingers like Shea and Gyau have consistently outperformed him at these camps. Second, at RB we have Chandler as a U-23. Third, half a dozen U-23s have senior team caps, some with many, meanwhile Gatt has yet to be invited to a senior team camp. Fastest U-23 we have, though, and with Gyau and Chandler around that is really saying something.

  30. b says:

    I’m not impressed by the defense aside from the goalkeepers and Opara, nor am I impressed by clean sheets versus San Antonio and Atlanta Silverbacks, but then again that’s probably the level of our group stage opponents, so these guys won’t truly be tested until they face Mexico again the the semifinals or final. Olympics will be a totally different level, but then there should be significant defensive reinforcements between Chandler and overage players.

  31. Second City says:

    Speaking of paying attention….

    might want to pay attention to the post you’re responding to, Duuuuur Kaiser.

  32. The Imperative Voice says:

    This is rote debate around here but I take his absence to send the opposite message, that he failed to impress enough at the German camp to become part of the prime time picture. Boyd’s in he’s not. I don’t think that’s because we’re so blown away we’re being restrained with our callups. I think we don’t care much.

  33. northzax says:

    Hamid has as much upside as any player in the pool, maybe more. he’s an absolute perfect physical specimen of a modern goalkeeper. plus, by all accounts he’s smart as heck, and learning more about the game every day. the only potential issue that I can see is that he’s so physically talented that he can make saves others can’t, and it could reward being lazy. Then you remember he’s 21, and has great teachers (Onstad, Howard) and competition at every level (Johnson with u-23s, Willis @ DCU)

    If he stays at DCU, and on the same track, by the end of 2013, he’ll be the best keeper in MLS.

  34. Dennis says:

    I expect that a couple goals will be scored against the US by some speedy forwards on counter-attacks. The possibility of denying an OGSO and getting a red card exists. Opara seems to be fast enough, but not confident in Kitchen’s speed or how well-organized the defense remains if the US goes on long forays into the other end and the young defenders get distracted or try to get into the attack too much.

  35. Andy says:

    Yup you nailed it.

  36. RLW2020 says:

    union are ****ed with out williams and adu.

  37. RLW2020 says:

    why would you need Okugo in there vs. cuba/elsal? Go for the goal with corona, boyd or jeffrey in the line up.

    i like williams over sarkodie but i think porter thinks otherwise.

  38. RLW2020 says:

    defense doen’t look great on paper, but i wouldn’t bet on cuba or el salvador or canada getting the better of that group more than once or twice. remember hamid is the captain of that group I have a lot of faith in his ability to keep them in line.

  39. The Imperative Voice says:

    We’re propping up the defense to try to get through qualifying at which point I expect the defense will get a wholesale remake with Chandler and perhaps 2 overage players. The defense is the relative weak point and I will not be deterred from that belief because of arguments based on how they handled the minor league expansion SA Scorpions (in preseason), the minor league Silverbacks (in preseason), FCD (in preseason), etc.

    Now, I was more impressed with how we handled Mexico U23, and I will take that more seriously, but they were surprisingly punchless and I don’t know why. IMO that shutout had more to do with GKing than anything else.

    If you look at the present defense it’s a bunch of mediocre draft picks. I think the offense is of a higher pedigree, both in terms of background and demonstrated ability.

    Chandler over Williams over Sarkodie. Defense is the prime directive for a defender so you always use the better defender. But I’m not sure Porter adding Williams after Sarkodie means Williams is favored, at all. That would seem to reflect Williams is Sarkodie’s cover.

  40. marco says:

    Boyd just arrived, plug in Corona for Cuba game. Sarkodie will start, you know why, subtract Williams.

  41. marco says:

    Agree, Williams was brought in as Sarkodie back-up. Even with Chandler coming in as U23, two of the overage selections should be for defense, DM, CB.

  42. Clover362 says:

    Against Mexico good goalkeeping and an amazing job by mix and corona held the shut out. Ideally I’d like to used the overage players to maximize the number of players who will like be on the national team so they have the opportunity to play together more. Of course we never know if clubs will cooperate.

  43. Air Jordanz says:

    Unlikely. Boyd hasn’t seen 1 minute of senior team time yet, despite being activated for selection to the senior Dortmund roster. The way Dortmund’s performing, it’s unlikely they will make time to play him any time soon.

    Wooten, on the other hand, has made substitute appearanced for the last 3 games (or 3 of 4).

    There’s no conspiracy theory here… he is undoubtedly better than Bunbury and was simply not available for release.

  44. Air Jordanz says:

    Typical overreaction.

    I don’t rate Bunbury as high as some of the other U23 forwards left off the roster (for various reasons).

    Calling another human being you don’t know much about “garbage” is another matter though.

  45. Air Jordanz says:

    Did you see the Mexico game!?

    There is no way anyone in their right mind benches Gyau after that showing. Space needs to be made for Gyau, Shea and Adu to start. Corona is the first man out.

  46. abc says:

    We don’t need an overage defensive midfielder, as much as I’d like to see Bradley there as the leader of this younger group of national teamers. For the Olympics, Porter has Danny Williams, Morales, Okugo, Kitchen, Jeffrey… who knows if any of the d-mids currently on the roster will even make it with Williams and Morales coming on board.

  47. The Imperative Voice says:

    Boyd got a senior USNT callup and played 11 minutes. Mind you, that might have been a work-around to get him international minutes without releasing him from Europe, but if Wooten was so great, why didn’t he either make the Mexico roster or get Boyd-type garbage minutes in Genoa?

    Whether they substitute for their B.1 team is an indicator of club approval and not of how they sit with the national system. You almost admit that the top team in the table has less reason or excuse to play its prospects than the last place team.

    Bunbury keeps getting called in, whatever you think of his relative quality. Suggesting Wooten is viewed as more of a U23 lock in that context is just counterfactual. At best you are making some sort of Whitbread argument of “my man is overlooked” because factually he’s not even in the mix. Morales and Gatt were not released; Wooten was simply surplus to US requirements.

  48. GW says:

    It is too early to tell about this team.

    The group of players for qualifying and, if we make it, the Olympic tournament, bolstered significantly by the “Zimmerman fake American” contingent, is potentially one of the best ever ( Why do I never see Zimmerman listed in yanks abroad listings? Or have I just missed him?).

    That does not mean they are a great or even a good team. And I don’t see that the US has one or two dominant players who can take the team on their backs and push them forward.

    They have yet to play a serious opponent in a serious game. Mexico might have qualified as that opponent but it seems to me they quit fairly early on so it is very hard to take much from that win.

    And if they do well and qualify, the possible introduction of three overage players could well ruin team chemistry.

    It is also pretty clear the opposition in the Olympics could be very stiff. And it’s worth remembering how dominant everyone thought the U-20’s should have been and we all saw how that ended.

    In other words other than the fact that the US will have quite a number of good players available it is pretty hard to draw any logical conclusions on how well this team will do or what “weaknesses” it has.

  49. GW says:

    Goalkeepers are best when they use their head not their body.

    Edwin Van Der Sar would go through periods when he would make very few saves. Granted he had good teams but he read the game in front of him very well.

    He led and organized his defenses and positioned himself so well that the need for him to make saves was kept to a minimum.

    The best saves are the ones that, by positioning yourself and your defenders properly, you never have to make.

    If he was was a better keeper Hamid would not have had to make so many spectacular saves. He has potential but he has a very long way to go and a ton to learn.

  50. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think it’s fair comment to say we’ll see how the U23s stack up when the games start to count. However, I think anyone looking at the roster objectively would share my impression that the attacking talent includes several US senior pool players, including Shea and Agudelo, whereas the defense sometimes is nothing more than young MLS players, some of whom don’t even start for their sides (Sarkodie). I don’t even think it’s a close question which end of the field is better-staffed, it’s the offense by far. Now, Brazil’s 23 year olds might expose the lot of them and that is a fair point, but the defense will crack first. If Sarkodie is abused by Zakuani in a regular fixture how’s he going to stop Neymar? In contrast, Shea might show up some name defenders.

    The x factor for the US is the GKing, which will include players like Hamid who are in the senior pipeline.