Three Atlanta United players out of U.S. Olympic qualifying camp

Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, George Bello and Brooks Lennon will not take part in the U.S. Under-23 training camp ahead of Olympic qualifying games in March in Mexico.

The three were called up by U.S. U23 manager Jason Kreis on Monday. Because of the COVID-19 quarantine process, they would not be able to return and be eligible for selection by Atlanta United in time for its season-opening Champions League on April 6 in Costa Rica.

Kreis said on Monday that he thought that the two sides had reached a solution during the weekend but that Atlanta United decided that the players weren’t going to be available. A person with knowledge of the situation said that Atlanta United told the United States Soccer Federation during the weekend that the players weren’t going to be made available for the qualifying tournament, citing medical concerns regarding COVID protocols ahead of the match on April 6.

Still, the roster came out on Monday with the players included. A spokesperson for th USSF did not respond to a message seeking comment and clarification.

Kreis said he respected the club’s decision but not having Robinson was a huge loss. Robinson started and scored for the U.S. in its 7-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 31. Bello came on as a sub.

Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra said last week that the team, along with the other organizations involved, were trying to figure out if players could return and be available in time for the game, but that the probabilities weren’t good. Atlanta United last week started its training camp under new manager Gabriel Heinze. Robinson, a centerback, and Bello, a fullback, are considered to be starters. Lennon is competing to start at right fullback with Ronald Hernandez.

The first game for the U.S. will be March 18 vs. Costa Rica in Guadalajara, Mexico. The second game is March 21 and the third game is March 24. The semifinals are March 28 and the championship is March 30.

Should the U.S. advance to the Summer Games, the three players would be allowed to compete if selected. However, Kreis said not having the players in the current training camp does create some doubt about being selected for the Olympics. He said there are a lot of factors involved, including going with the best team and the players that have already trained together. He said if the players were in camp there is “no doubt” they would be on the Olympic team.

The U.S. hasn’t qualifying for the Olympics since 2008.