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Tyler Miller of the Seattle Suunders and USMNT U-23 Team Member gives us some insight on his experience with the US Men's National Team Olympic Qualifier
U23 Olympic Qualifying Playoffs
Receiving the Call
I was recently apart of the U.S. U-23 Olympic Qualifying playoff roster against Colombia in March. It is always an honor to represent the United States at a national level, but when I received the call for this camp, it felt different. After suffering a thumb injury last summer that would rule me out of Olympic Qualifying in October, I felt like I had missed my chance to represent the U-23 national team again. However, my persistence and determination (and some luck) paid off when I received another opportunity to help the United States reach the Olympics.
When we took off for Colombia we knew it was going to be a tough, hard fought battle in the hot, humid city of Barranquilla. We battled through numerous elements while in South America from broken air conditioning in the locker room to malfunctioning water-misting machines on the bench. The stadium was overflowing with Colombians who created a constant, loud environment through horns, drums, and chants. However, against all odds we went up 1-0 from a clinical finish from Luis Gil just inside the box. After some unlucky hits off the post for us that would have saw us go up 2-0, Colombia drew a penalty and converted. The game finished 1-1, but we earned a well-deserved point away from home.
Experience to Grow From
The second leg in Dallas, four days later, did not go as planned. Colombia was too much for us to handle on this day, and won 2-1. This was a bitter way to finish my U-23 career without reaching our end goal, the Olympics. While Rio will not be in my travel plans this summer, my experience with the U-23 National team during this time will have an everlasting effect on my career moving forward. I learned many valuable lessons about playing in hostile environments, building team chemistry, and my own game that I will be able to use when I am called in for the full national team.
Tyler's favorite glove is the Stretta Avalanche. Use code Tyler: to get 20% off a pair of Avalanche's!
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