Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Revive the US Cup!

Current US coach Bruce Arena made several statements about allowing the US coach more mechanisms to develop the play of the US teams and to have MLS take a larger role in player development. He mentioned playing in the Copa America, which I agree with, we should be playing in that tournament every time the tournament is held. Another type of development mechanism that the US Soccer Federation (USSF) and MLS might try considering is making use of the January to February time frame that MLS and other global soccer leagues are out of season, or on a winter break.

The USSF could revive the US Cup, their tournament that was created to provide the US national team international tournament competition. It was held annually and had three other nations involved. USSF could hold this tournament in late January in Phoenix and Los Angeles, where the weather is still very comfortable. Invite the Soccer Federations of Norway, Sweden, Finland; all nations that has players currently in their off seasons. Germany uses a six week break to allow for rest and for snow, they could invite the German Soccer Federation to send over a team of lesser experienced players, or their U23 squad. Canada’s players have a break during this time as well, considering they all either play in MLS or the USL. The USSF could invite all of these countries and hold a 6 team knock out tournament. The two groups could be split, one group in LA and one group in Phoenix. The finals could be held in LA at the Home Depot Center.

This would be a good chance to use an all MLS squad and get them international tournament experience, as well as allow for MLS players to get some training in during the off season. It just might show which US players really want to improve their skills and make the roster for a Gold Cup or Copa America side. The US coach would be able to use different players and give them more shots at making the team.


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