The Toulon Tournament takes place in France from May 17th to June 7th with 10 National U-23 teams participating. This is a great event for young players to get international experience, and also provides excellent preparation for the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying phase which begins in October.
Andi Herzog, the U-23 U.S. head coach commented “Toulon is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world at this age level, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world. Having seen matches here many times before, I know the type of talent we will face. This is huge for us as we get ready for qualification this October, and is another step in the development of our players in international competition.”
Two notable U.S. players on the roster for this competition are Julian Green and Jordan Morris.
Green, at the age of 19 participated in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and scored against Belgium, becoming the youngest scorer in a World Cup since a certain Lionel Messi struck in 2006. Green spent this past season on loan at Hamburger SV, but has a contract with Bayern Munich. Green had previously played youth international soccer for Germany up until U19, when he was recruited for the USA by Coach K. He plays as a winger in Germany but is forward on this U23 U.S. team and has gotten a lot of attention since the World Cup.
Morris, who is currently a star at Stanford University, has been also had quite a lot of success internationally for the U.S. team, scoring against both Mexico U-23 and senior national teams. He was offered a rather lucrative Homegrown Player contract from Seattle Sounders, but opted to stay and finish his degree at Stanford before becoming a professional soccer player. He is another forward with great potential in this tournament.
The U.S played against France on May 27th as their first match, but they lost 3-1. Even though the majority of France’s squad was U-20, the U.S. started off slowly and their lack of energy early on saw them punished as they conceded 3 goals in the first 20 minutes. They did score on the second half, but that wasn’t enough to come back.
The other teams they will face in the group phase are Costa Rica, Netherlands and Qatar.