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Houston Dynamo defender AJ Cochran named to U.S. U-23 national team camp

Houston Dynamo defender AJ Cochran has been selected for the United States Under-23 training camp in Nassau, Bahamas. Cochran will join the camp on Aug. 4, following Sunday’s game between the Dynamo and D.C. United. The camp concludes on Aug. 7 and includes a game against the Bahamas senior national team on Aug. 6 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

Cochran, a rookie center back, is one of 18 players invited to the camp as the U.S. prepares for the qualification process for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The 6-foot-3 defender was selected by the Dynamo in the first round (No. 16 overall) of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Wisconsin. A member of Generation adidas, Cochran has appeared in 11 games (6 starts) this regular season, along with two starts in the U.S. Open Cup.

“The chance to get this group of players together and get ahead of the curve in preparation for Olympic Qualifying in two years’ time is huge,” said U.S. Soccer Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann. “We began with the U-21 camp in April, and now it’s critical that we have as many camps and games as possible so we can build a deep pool of talent that can qualify for Brazil. The Olympics are an important opportunity for young players, and we have to capitalize on it. We also want to give a big thanks the Bahamas Football Association for hosting us.”

The St. Louis native has experience with the U.S. youth national teams. In January 2012, Cochran participated in a camp with the Under-20 national team. In 2011, he travelled with the Under-18 team to Argentina and Chile.

Cochran played three seasons at Wisconsin and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. A two-time Big Ten selection, he was a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy in 2013.