Columbus Crew SC's Justin Meram could play for Iraq at Olympics

Columbus Crew SC midfielder Justin Meram is a candidate to play for Iraq in the Olympics this summer.

Iraq informed the MLS club that Meram, 27, is under consideration for one of the country's three squad spots for players over 23.

If selected to play in August, Meram could miss up to a month of the MLS season, though the Crew do not have any games that month until Aug. 13 and the group stage at the Olympics ends three days earlier.

His club could refuse to release him to play in the tournament, but coach Gregg Berhalter told the Columbus Dispatch that Crew SC could be open to Meram going to Rio de Janeiro.

"It's not like I'm some 10-year vet, so it's quite an honor for me," Meram told the newspaper. "I could maybe miss a month with the Crew, but it's the Olympics, representing your country. It would be an absolute honor to go and do that."

Meram was born in Michigan to Iraqi-American parents and began playing for the Iraq national team in 2014. He has earned 17 caps for the nation and scored twice in Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, helping Iraq advance to the third round.

"Hopefully, with my experience, I could be calming for some of the younger guys going into it," Meram said of the Olympics.