Eight MLS players selected to 19-man roster for first Under-23 USMNT camp in Bahamas

Preparations for Olympic qualifying are about to seriously get underway for the US national team.

US Soccer announced on Friday that an 18-man U-23 squad has been selected for a five-day camp starting Sunday and running through Aug. 7 in Nassau, Bahamas. The camp is the first of its kind for the US and will include a friendly against the Bahamas full national team on Aug. 6 at Thompson A. Robinson National Stadium.

Of the 19 players, eight currently represent MLS clubs, including Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, Vancouver Whitecaps forward Omar Salgado and Colorado Rapids midfielder Marlon Hairston. The five others are Christian Dean (Vancouver), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire), A.J. Cochran (Houston Dynamo) and Bryan Gallego (Portland Timbers on loan to Arizona United).

The roster also includes MLS Academy products Zack Steffen (Philadelphia Union) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) and PDL player Ramon Martin del Campo (San Jose Earthquakes U23s).

More players may be added to the US roster if their clubs release them.

"The chance to get this group of players together and get ahead of the curve in preparation for Olympic qualifying in two years' time is huge," said US Soccer technical director Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. "We began with the U-21 camp in April, and now it's critical that we have as many camps and games as possible so we can build a deep pool of talent that can qualify for Brazil.

Seven players who were called to that U-21 camp, US Soccer's first of its kind, make their returns for the upcoming camp. US national team staff assistant coaches Tab Ramos and Andi Herzog and goalkeeper coach Chris Woods, as well as Under-18 US head coach Javier Perez, are overseeing the camp.

The US are hoping to qualify for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro after missing the cut for London 2012. CONCACAF's qualifying tournament will take place in March of 2016.

Here is the complete US U-23 national team roster:

Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Zack Steffen (Maryland; Downington, Pa.)

Defenders: A.J. Cochran (Houston Dynamo; St. Louis), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Ramon Martin del Campo (San Jose Earthquakes; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bryan Gallego (Arizona United; Kinnelon, N.J.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles)

Midfielders: Dennis Flores (León; Pasadena, Calif.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.)

Forwards: Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Alonso Hernandez (Monterrey; El Paso, Texas), Alfred Koroma Shams (Internacional; Southlake, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Indy Eleven; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; El Paso, Texas)