Photo: Marco Fabian De la Mora, star of the U23 team
Mexico’s under-23 national soccer team will compete in a tournament this month in Toulon, France, fielding a squad of 20 players under consideration for the Olympic roster.
The manager of the Mexican team that will compete in the 2012 London Games, Luis Fernanda Tena, unveiled the list of players who will take part in the Espoirs de Toulon competition, several of whom helped lead Mexico to victory in the recently concluded Olympic qualifying tournament.
The Mexican under-23 squad will assemble on Sunday in Mexico City and travel on May 20 to Toulon to play in Group B, which also includes France, Belarus and Morocco.
After that tournament, a major event in the under-23 category that runs from May 23 to June 1, the players will go on vacation and then return to work on June 24 to prepare for the Olympic Games.
Mexico has been placed in Group B in London and will face South Korea on July 26, Gabon on July 29 and Switzerland on Aug. 1.
The Olympic squad will feature several of the members of the team taking part in the Espoirs de Toulon event plus some other players, including three over the age of 23 to be determined in early July.
The Mexican soccer federation announced Wednesday that two potential members of the Olympic squad - Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Carlos Vela, strikers for Manchester United and Spain’s Real Sociedad, respectively - will not be available to play in London, although Tena said the squad will not be weakened by their absence.
Hernandez was not cleared to play by his English club, while Vela - on loan to Real Sociedad from London club Arsenal - asked not to be called up so he could focus on his career in Europe ahead of a possible further transfer this summer.
- Mexican squad for the Toulon tournament:
Goalkeepers: Liborio Sanchez (Guadalajara) and Antonio Rodriguez (Guadalajara).
Defensemen: Nestor Araujo (Cruz Azul), Darvin Chavez (Monterrey), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Isaac Rodriguez (Atlas) and Nestor Vidrio (Pachuca).
Midfielders: Jorge Enriquez (Guadalajara), Miguel Ponce (Guadalajara), Javier Aquino (Cruz Azul), Diego Reyes (America), Nestor Calderon (Toluca), Hector Herrera (Pachuca), Jorge Hernandez (Chiapas) and Javier Cortes (Pumas UNAM).
Forwards: Alan Pulido (Tigres), Jeronimo Amione (Atlante), Marco Fabian (Guadalajara), Candido Ramirez (Santos Laguna) and Raul Jimenez (America).
Manager: Luis Fernando Tena.