Now that the World Cup has ended for the USMNT, many fans are having trouble coming to grips with the end. It may take some time to get over all the emotions, so perhaps looking ahead at what is coming up will help.
A long-term view of major soccer events involving U.S. Soccer includes another World Cup and another chance to showcase America’s top footballers against some of the world’s best teams. Regardless of where you stand with recent events, you should take a look at what is to come.
Next year, there is a chance to appreciate the women’s game on a global scale as the World Cup ascends on Canada. The field will expand to 24 with the USWNT attempting to win the squad’s first since 1999. The past year has been tumultuous with the controversy surrounding the firing of Tom Sermanni as coach; goalkeeper Hope Solo has been in the news for a possible domestic violence offense and her outspoken nature, and the results on the field have not been the dominating performances that U.S. fans have come to expect.
On the field, the 2015 Women’s World Cup will most likely be the last major competition for all-time leading scorer Abby Wambach, as well as Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone. Assuming she is in the game plan of new coach Jill Ellis, Rampone will eclipse 300 caps for the USWNT.
It could also be the end of the road for Carli Lloyd. Many of the often called upon defenders are in their upper 20s as well, so this competition will be the end of an era in many ways. First, the USWNT will have to qualify this October.
For the men, the next major tournament is the CONCACAF Gold Cup, taking place over July 7-26, 2015. This is often considered an audition for the next World Cup, and the roster should be filled with largely untested players on the international stage. If the U.S. wins, the Americans will automatically qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup to be held in Russia.
The Gold Cup will be followed in 2016 by the Brazil Olympics and the 2016 Copa America Centenario to be held in the United States. This will be the biggest competition held in the U.S. since the 1994 World Cup, and will include 10 CONMEBOL members and six CONCACAF members.
While the U.S. will have to qualify for the Olympics, the Americans are automatic qualifiers in the 100th anniversary edition of Copa America. The U.S. will host major federations from South America just weeks before the Olympics. Shortly after these events end, the Americans will start their two-stage qualifying process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
These competitions bring the excitement of seeing the current future of the USMNT. Players like Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Emerson Hyndman may break in with the senior team. MLS stars Darlington Nagbe, Luis Gil, Dillon Serna and Dillon Powers are sure to be in the picture. Arsenal‘s Gedion Zelalem could be the latest dual-national to pick the red, white and blue.
As USWNT star Sydney Leroux tweeted earlier this week, soccer never stops. There is plenty to look forward to from U.S. Soccer in the next two years with the 2018 World Cup in the back of our minds. Take your time getting over this World Cup — the U.S. Soccer world will march on.