San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill has been named captain of the United States under-23 national team for the upcoming Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament in Mexico, it was announced Wednesday.
Yueill earned the honor after teammates and coaches voted. The 23-year-old has made nine senior team appearances, making him the most experienced player on head coach Jason Kreis’ 20-man roster.
"Jackson is a leader for this group on and off the field,” Kreis said in a release. “After tallying votes, he was the clear choice to captain this team during Olympic Qualifying. He’s well-suited to the way we want to play and his experience with this system will help him anchor our midfield during this difficult tournament. Jackson is an incredibly hard worker and I’m proud of how much he’s grown over the last two years.
Yueill captained San Jose during the 2020 MLS season, as they earned the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The deep-lying midfielder started to truly establish himself during the 2019 MLS campaign, and he now has four goals and 10 assists in 87 matches (75 starts).
As the United States head into Olympic Qualifying, they’re drawn into Group B and await matches against Costa Rica (March 18), the Dominican Republic (March 21) and Mexico (March 24). The top two teams will advance to the semifinals, then the finalists will qualify for this summer’s upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The United States have missed the last two Olympic tournaments, leaving quite the task ahead of Yueill and his teammates. The roster includes 16 players from 11 different MLS clubs.
"I think the team is very strong this year, and through US Soccer in the past couple years, there's been some failures," Yueill said earlier this week. "But I think that's what led to such a great group and such a great group coming up with the first team at a youth team. So we're excited for this challenge and I think the message between the team has just been focused on the moment.
"We're not too worried about the past, we're not too worried about the future, we're focused on the next game, and we're focused on Costa Rica right now. And I think the unity between the whole team and the drive and the hunger to succeed in this tournament is what I think will do us really well in this tournament, and we're excited to start it off.