Sporting Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury was named to the United States Olympic Qualifying roster on Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced. Bunbury is one of 20 players selected by head coach Caleb Porter for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which begins Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. and will culminate at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. for the semifinals and championship matches.
“I’m honored and very excited for this opportunity. It’s a once in a lifetime chance,” Bunbury said. “I’m ready to begin the tournament and make it past the group stage so I can play back in front of my home crowd.”
Bunbury, 22, is one of six forwards on the roster and is among 14 MLS players invited. He becomes just the second KC player to be selected for an Olympic Qualifying roster while with the club, along with Jose Luis Burciaga, Jr. (2004).
Now in his third professional season, Bunbury tied for the team lead with nine goals during the 2011 MLS regular season and scored twice in Sporting Kansas City’s postseason run to the Eastern Conference Championship match. Coupled with five goals and two assists in his rookie season, Bunbury leads all 2010 MLS SuperDraft selections in both goals and points.
Drafted in the first round out of Akron, Bunbury will again be playing for his former college coach. Bunbury has been an integral part of the team’s preparation for qualifying, having participated in three U.S. under-23 training camps since the end of the 2011 season.
Bunbury debuted for the full U.S. Men’s National Team in November 2010 and scored in his second appearance in January 2011. He most recently earned senior team caps against Venezuela and Panama in January along with Sporting Kansas City teammates C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi.
The eight-team CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament begins Thursday with the United States playing in Group A at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Group B, headlined by Mexico, will start one day later at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. All three U.S. matches will be televised live on Universal Sports Network and every match during the tournament will also be streamed live on CONCACAF.com.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals on March 31 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Each semifinal winner will qualify for the Olympic Games in London this summer and secure their spot in the championship on Monday, April 2 for the right to be crowned the CONCACAF champion.