MLS 🔵 Oldsmar native heading to the Olympics with Team USA’s soccer team – Shango Media
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MLS 🔵 Oldsmar native heading to the Olympics with Team USA’s soccer team

OLDSMAR, Fla.Nathan Harriel has long waited for this moment.

« It was just more of a waiting game of nerves, » Harriel said.

But finally, last week, the former East Lake High School soccer player turned Philadelphia Union defender got the news he had been waiting to hear.

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« Everything just relaxed. All the pressure and weight on my shoulders was gone, » he said.

Last Tuesday, Harriel got a FaceTime call from U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach Marko Mitrovic, letting the defender know he had made the 18-man roster.

« It’s an honor, because you’re never guaranteed to be back there, » Harriel said. « Every time you put the crest on you have to take advantage of the opportunity, show out and represent not just your country but your city, your club, and your family as well as possible. »

Months ago, Harriel received his first men’s national team call up and hoped it was a sign that a trip to the Olympics was in his future.

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« I’m waiting for that phone call with nerves, thinking this is my one chance, and if I miss it I might not ever get it again, » Harriel said.

MLS 🔵 Oldsmar native heading to the Olympics with Team USA’s soccer team

Thankfully, that phone call has now come and gone with Harriel fully focused on trying to help Team USA earn a men’s Olympic soccer medal for the first time.

« This has a lot of history to it, because the US hasn’t been to the Olympics in a while and has never placed, » Harriel said. « It’s huge. There is a lot of pressure, but it’s good pressure. »

With the pressure to perform mounting, Harriel also feels the pressure to take pride in his journey from the soccer fields of Clearwater and Pinellas County to the Olympic Games.

« Just being a hometown kid and being able to say that ‘I’m an Olympian,’ not many others can say it, it’s pretty cool, » he said.

Harriel and the rest of Team USA will kick off their Olympic aspirations on July 24 against the hosts, France, in Marseille.

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