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Sky Blue FC players face different paths to Rio Olympics

Four Sky Blue players eye a chance to go for gold in Rio at the 2016 Olympics

Sky Blue and United States player Kelley O'Hara (5) goes for the ball against a Haiti defender during the match at Legion Field.
Sky Blue and United States player Kelley O'Hara (5) goes for the ball against a Haiti defender during the match at Legion Field.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Sky Blue FC roster currently includes four players who pull double duty, playing for both the club and for the United States, Costa Rican or Australian national teams. Splitting their time between their national team duties and Sky Blue gives these players a chance to train and compete against some of the best in the world and bring that experience back to the Sky Blue roster.

One of the newest members of Sky Blue and the number two overall pick in the 2016 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) draft, Raquel Rodríguez, will be suiting up for Costa Rica in the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football’s (CONCACAF) Olympic qualifying tournament. The 22-year old has scored 25 goals in just 43 caps for the Central American country.

The 34th ranked team in the world will face Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States in group A of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. Costa Rica qualified for their first Women's World Cup over the summer but failed to make it out of the group stage. Rodríguez had one goal in three games.

Costa Rica starts things off with what may be their hardest game of the tournament, a Feb. 10 game against the United States. The last time the two teams faced each other was on the U.S. Women's National Team's World Cup Victory Tour, with the U.S. taking the first game 7-0 and the second 8-2.

From there things ease up a bit for Costa Rica. The team will play a Feb, 13 match against Puerto Rico, the 108th-ranked team in the world before finishing off by playing Mexico, ranked 26th, on Feb. 15. All three games will be at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

If Costa Rica can manage to come in second in their group, they will likely face Canada in a make-or-break semi-final on Feb. 19 for a trip to Rio.

While the lawsuit between U.S. Soccer and the United States Women’s National Team Player’s Association will almost certainly not be settled before CONCACAF Olympic qualifying starts this week, the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) is set to play in the tournament.

Kelley O'Hara once again joins the USWNT in its quest to qualify for the Olympics. The three-time defending Olympic champions are trying to be the first team in the history of the women's game to win consecutive World Cup and Olympics. The team came close in 2000 after winning the 1999 World Cup but lost to Norway in the final match.

A star college forward, O'Hara was converted to midfield and then defender before becoming the epitome of versatility for the USWNT. She scored her first international goal in 2015 against Germany in the Women's World Cup semi-final.

Missing from the February United States roster is former long time USWNT captain and current Sky Blue FC captain Christie Rampone. She is recovering from minor knee surgery performed in December. Because of her recovery, she was not a part of the United States January camp, nor was she named to the Olympic qualifying roster.

As previously mentioned, the USWNT will be playing Costa Rica on February 10th. That match will be followed by Mexico on Feb. 13 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 15.

The United States is predicted to be first out of their group and will likely face either Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala or Guyana in the semi-finals on Feb. 19 to determine its Olympic fate. Canada is predicted to clash with the United States in the final on Feb. 21.

Although not televised, all CONCACAF Olympic qualifying matches will be live streamed via NBC Live Sports Extra.

Australia is about a month away from a grueling battle in the Asian Football Conference Olympic qualifiers to fill one of two spots in the Olympics. The event will take place Feb. 29 to March 9.

Both Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord, if healthy, should play a large part in Australia's chance of making Rio. Kerr injured her foot in a Nov. 16 Perth Glory game during her stint with the W-League. Foord, also playing for Perth Glory, suffered a broken collarbone in a January 2nd match against Canberra United.

The Matildas will have to play five games in ten days in hopes of making it to Rio. They kick off with a Feb. 29 game against Japan in Osaka before playing Vietnam only three days later on March 2 in the same city.On March 4 the Matildas will take on South Korea, North Korea on March 7 and the People’s Republic of China on March 9.

The top two teams in terms of points will advance. With their performances at the 2015 Women's World Cup, both Foord and Kerr are needed sparks in the Matildas' roster.

Whichever road the teams take, Sky Blue FC should reap the rewards of having four players training and competing with their respective national teams.