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2024: The Year of Opportunity for US Soccer

Berhalter Breaks Down USMNT

The next six months are potentially the most important in the history of US soccer. It might sound hyperbolic, but it truly cannot be overstated how massive the summer of 2024 is for a nation that is just two years away from co-hosting a World Cup. Starting with the third iteration of the Nations League in just under two weeks, the US has three tournaments to really put themselves on the map to contend at the 2026 World Cup. 

2024: US Soccer’s Year of Opportunity

In six years of Gregg Berhalter’s reign as head coach, the United States Men’s National Team has had to tend to the wounds of the failure of 2017 in Couva. But with said wounds sewn up after qualifying and making it out of the group stages in Qatar, it’s time for more. There have never been more Americans contributing to their teams at the highest levels of club soccer. English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, Dutch Eredivisie, French League One, and Spanish La Liga. All of the worlds perceived top leagues have yanks making impacts on top clubs. There’s never been a talent pool this deep.

The Concacaf Nations League is not necessarily a forgone conclusion, but taking home the trophy for third time in its three year history is the bare minimum at this point. Things will really kick off in June however, when the Copa America is played in the states, with the USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Panama, and two other Concacaf teams joining ten Conmebol teams. 

A deep run in Copa America would prove to be a massive step for US soccer, with Conmebol touted as the second best footballing region in the world behind Europe. With the likes of Brazil, Argentina, and group stage opponents Uruguay, a semifinal run needs to be the goal, but winning the whole tournament is not far fetched, and if they were to do so, it would demand the attention of the rest of the world, and certainly it’s own country, that doesn’t even necessarily take it seriously.

In July, the Paris Olympics take place, which will draw more casual eyes to the team. Now, true footy heads know that the Olympics is not a great barometer for a countries footballing ability. It’s a U-23 tournament, with three players over 23 allowed on the roster. But, in 2014, we saw a much motivated Neymar lead Brazil to gold, so when taken seriously, it can be a joyous watch. This should be a great to evaluate what kind of players the US has coming through the pipeline to potentially help get the Pulisic and co. generation over the hump. If the casual American viewer sees the US even just make a semifinal or earn a medal of some kind, it could go a long way for the support of the team in this country.

2026 has the potential to not just be a springboard for the growth of the sport. It could potentially be what sets the US on the trajectory to becoming a mainstay as threats at the worlds biggest stage. It all starts this year, with three tournaments to prove to the country, and the world that when their World Cup campaign kicks off from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California, the US Men’s National Team, as host nation, have the potential to make some noise.


Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images on November 9, 2022.


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