Squad Announcement: Australia Men’s Football Team

The Australian Olympic Committee has announced the 18-member men’s Football team for Tokyo 2020, with the ‘Olyroos’ returning to the Olympic arena for the first time since Beijing 2008.

Coached by Seoul 1988 Olympian Graham Arnold, Australia’s ambitious men’s Football team for Tokyo 2020 includes players currently playing for clubs across the A-League, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Many members of the squad have enjoyed recent success at club and international level, with Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe, Harry Souttar and Mitchell Duke starring for the Socceroos in June, Nathaniel Atkinson, Tom Glover, and Joel King featuring in Sunday’s A-League Grand Final in Melbourne, and youngster Caleb Watts making his Premier League debut in England last season.

Metcalfe Olyroos
Recent Socceroos debutant Connor Metcalfe is on the plane to Tokyo 2020.

The Olyroos qualified for the Games in January 2020, with Nicholas D’Agostino’s second half strike against Uzbekistan lifting Australia to an emotional Asian Qualifying Tournament victory in the winner takes all playoff in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Olympic tournament features under-23 players, with three overage players eligible for selection. The delay to Tokyo 2020 resulted in an extension of the age group, so any player eligible for the initial competition dates in 2020 remains eligible for the Games this year.

Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo Ian Chesterman welcomed today’s announcement.

“It is fantastic to see the Olyroos back in the Australian Olympic Team for the first Games since Beijing 2008,” Mr Chesterman said.

“Congratulations to all of the players selected today to add to Australia’s Olympic football legacy. It has been a long road to achieve this Olympic milestone, and today is a day to celebrate for the players, their families, friends and supporters.

“To have both the Olyroos and Matildas in action in Tokyo will be great for football fans across the nation. The men’s team has been working very hard under the direction of coach Graham Arnold and I know they are really excited about the challenge ahead and have their opportunity to make their mark on the world stage.

“Thank you also to Football Australia for helping take these athletes from starting out on a suburban ground to representing Australia at the world’s biggest sporting stage. There are exciting times ahead for the Team and the sport.”

Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo past 300 of an expected 450-480 team size.

Nicholas D'Agostino Olyroos
Nicholas D’Agostino scored the goal that secured Australia’s place at their first Olympic Men’s Football Tournament since 2008

23-year-old forward Nicholas D’Agostino said being selected to the Olympics was a proud moment in his career.

“This is unbelievable,” D’Agostino said. “It has been a long road, a lot of hard work, a lot of preparation to get the mind and the body right. But I am just glad that it is finally here, that I have earned a spot, and now I just want to get over to Japan and get started as soon as possible.

“My favourite Olympic memories are of these smaller nations that go and give it their all and show the world what they are capable of. I think that’s what we want to set out to achieve – we want to go show the world that Australia can play football. I just want to go over there, put some good performances in and make my family, my country, and myself proud.”

Even 17 months on, the memory of scoring the goals that put Australia back Into the Olympics for men’s football still creates a buzz for D’Agostino.

Words can’t describe that feeling to be honest, just incredible. I have watched that goal and watched that game so many times back just to re-live it, every single time it is unreal and the feeling never dies. It always creates that little buzz inside you that you just want to go out there and play and do that again.”

24-year-old defender Ruon Tongyik, born in South Sudan before moving with his family to Australia aged six, said he will cherish the opportunity to wear the green and gold at an Olympics.

“It’s a great honour to be able to represent Australia and it is just a wonderful feeling to be selected,” Tongyik said. “I’ve told my family, they’re super excited, and I think it is really starting to kick in for me in knowing that I am going to be an Olympian and I am going to Tokyo.”

Ruon Tongyik Olyroos
Ruon Tongyik has been selected as one of Australia’s overage players at Toyko 2020.

“Our community is going to be very, very happy for me. Seeing someone like myself, the history, all the trials and tribulations that I have been through as a player and as a person as well. People that I know and I do look up to, players, friends and family, they are going to be very stoked for me and I am very happy to be able to represent them as well.

“I spoke to Arnie (Graham Arnold) about his experience, being an Olympian is still something that gives him goosebumps to this day. It is something that is very special to him, and I think that as players we are going to learn from that, and we are going to experience a life changing experience.”

The Olyroos have been drawn in Group C with Egypt, Spain and Argentina, and will open their campaign on 22 July in Sapporo against the Argentinians.

Coach Graham Arnold said the team could shock the world in Tokyo.

“It is such a special moment and special time, I am really excited to get to Japan, I can’t wait,” Arnold said.

My expectations are that we are going to shock the world and we are going to go out there, play on the front foot, we’re not going to go out there trying not to lose the game, we are going out there expecting to win the game and it doesn’t matter who we play.”

“The players that have been selected they are all excited, they are all grateful for the opportunity and the chance. The strength of the Socceroos is the Olyroos and I do expect these kids to really step up.

“People might want to look at it as a ‘Group of Death’ but for me it is a ‘Group of Dreams’. It is what you dream about and you want to play these types of teams (Argentina, Spain, Egypt) and test yourself against the best in the world.”

Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo – Men’s Football

Name

Position

Age

Olympic Games

Suburb

State

Postcode

Daniel Arzani

Forward

22

Debut

Melbourne

VIC

3000

Nathaniel Atkinson

Defender

22

Debut

Preston

VIC

3072

Keanu Baccus

Midfielder

23

Debut

Kings Park

NSW

2148

Nicholas D’Agostino

Forward

23

Debut

Floreat

WA

6014

Thomas Deng

Defender

24

Debut

Parkville

VIC

3052

Mitchell Duke*

Forward

30

Debut

Lurnea

NSW

2170

Denis Genreau

Midfielder

22

Debut

Carlton

VIC

3053

Thomas Glover

Goalkeeper

23

Debut

Bangor

NSW

2234

Joel King

Defender

20

Debut

Sydney

NSW

2000

Ashley Maynard-Brewer

Goalkeeper

22

Debut

Perth

WA

6000

Riley McGree

Midfielder

22

Debut

Gawler East

SA

5118

Connor Metcalfe

Midfielder

21

Debut

Yallambie

VIC

3085

Dylan Pierias

Midfielder

21

Debut

Melbourne

VIC

2000

Reno Piscopo

Forward

23

Debut

Melbourne

VIC

2000

Kye Rowles

Defender

23

Debut

Terrigal

NSW

2260

Harry Souttar

Defender

22

Debut

Aberdeen

Scotland

Ruon Tongyik*

Defender

24

Debut

West Gosford

NSW

2250

Caleb Watts

Midfielder

19

Debut

London

UK

*All players participating in the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament shall be born on or after 1 January 1997. However, a maximum of three (3) players who do not meet this age limit may also be included in the official list of players for the final competition. Mitchell Duke (born 18 January 1991) and Ruon Tongyik (born 28 December 1996) have been selected as Australia’s overage players for Tokyo 2020.

Cameron Devlin, Jordan Holmes (goalkeeper), Ramy Najjarine and Lachlan Wales have been named as the Train On Players. If called up to the team due to injury or other circumstances, they would be selected to the Australian Olympic Team at that time.

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