Friday, June 30, 2006

USSF possibly re-examine Copa America invitation.

The is reporting that USSF President, Sunil Gulati has decided to re-examine the option of the US National Team taking part in the 2007 Copa America.

“In a reversal from previous USSF statements, Gulati said he would consider entering the national team in next summer's Copa America, the prestigious South American tournament, even though it is scheduled to begin just a few days after the completion of the U.S. squad's own regional championship, the Gold Cup. The U.S. team has a standing invitation to play in Copa America after winning the 2005 Gold Cup.” - From the

I believe that this is a positive step in the right direction. The very fact that Gulati is going on the record considering the idea of sending a US squad to the 2007 Copa America is a positive thing for US soccer. For almost the last decade, the USSF has always declined any type of invitation that was extended by CONMEBOL based on reasons that are really outside of the USSF realm of power; namely MLS and it season schedule. Finally deciding to look at participating rather than just declining the invitation is a good thing.

Unfortunately this could also be window dressing. All the USSF has to do is make a statement that they are considering participation to only come back later and claim that they do not think that they can schedule it in the US calendar. It has also been suggested that the USSF already declined the 2007 invite and that Costa Rica has been offered their place, which they have accepted. If this is nothing but a rouse, than I would hope that USSF members would be able to explain why the chance to play in a challenging environment was passed on.

In order to make the US squad a better squad, they need to play in better tournaments against better squads in tougher locations. Playing Jamaica in Sal Lake City is test that an all MLS team should pass. Playing Uruguay in Estadio Centenario, Montevideo in a Copa America is something different and definitely a test that the US National Team must undertake and work on passing, in order to become a global power. Playing in a Copa America will make matches overseas easier than always playing at Crew Stadium or Gillette Stadium. When the US National Team begins taking on difficult opponents in challenging environments, the level of quality play will rise.


Anonymous Soccer Dad said...

Definitely a start and hopefully not just a rouse. Yes, it conflicts with MLS. But our national team needs the exposure and experience.

3:06 PM  

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