Young U.S. squad aims to realize potential at Qatar World Cup
NEW YORK — For the second year in a row, the U.S. Men’s National Team has qualified for the World Cup and is about to play its second competitive match with a group that includes a host nation that the U.S. has never actually played.
Yet U.S. Soccer did not get to choose the host for the 2022 World Cup. In recent days, U.S. Soccer announced that it had awarded the 2022 tournament to five African nations: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria. In fact, U.S. Soccer said that the 2022 World Cup would occur during the first six months of 2021.
The announcement was met with alarm from some in the women’s national team.
“We are not at a point where we are ready to commit to a World Cup,” senior goalkeeper Hope Solo said on the USA Today Network’s Soccer Central TV show on Friday. “We want to prepare the national team for whatever the future holds. We want to prepare for the future and now we have to prepare.”
The U.S. has been in touch with Qatar since the opening match, which took place on Wednesday, will be on June 21 against the Qatari national team from the Asian island nation of Qatar.
With the announcement of the tournament’s venue, U.S. Soccer announced a two-part timetable for the national team’s preparation:
— The Americans will play a series of exhibition matches against African powers in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. U.S. Soccer officials said that U.S. Soccer had no restrictions on the type of competition that would be allowed during such games, provided they were against an African team that would be participating in the 2022 World Cup and that was also eligible for the tournament, as USA.com reported.
“This process is in a very fast and very fluid way,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. If and when the 2022 World Cup is played in the first six months of 2021, the process will be far faster. (The first matches for the 2022 World Cup have taken place this month. The Netherlands beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly played in Amsterdam on June 6 and the hosts were