The U.S. men's Olympic effort will be an intriguing test of young pros—the tournament is for under-23 players, plus up to three per team of any age—to say nothing of a new coach. Caleb Porter took over in October, having led Akron to the '10 NCAA title, and his first test will come during March qualifying. Not all of the U.S.'s European pros will be released for the eight-team CONCACAF tournament, but if the Yanks finish in the top two and make it to London, their roster could include recognizable and rising U-23s such as forwards Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury and Terrence Boyd; midfielders Brek Shea, Freddy Adu, Mix Diskerud and Joe Gyau; defender Timmy Chandler; and goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Porter's overage picks will depend on positional needs; midfielder Michael Bradley and backliners Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit would bring valuable experience.
The men's best finish came in 2000, when a team with Landon Donovan and Brad Friedel lost in the semis to Spain and finished fourth. This year's edition has the talent to finally earn some hardware.