BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The United States’ run at the 2014 World Cup is over, but with interest and attention to the Yanks reaching more all-time highs, the question becomes what’s next for this team.
The next World Cup isn’t for another four years when Russia will host the world’s biggest spectacle in 2018. Between now and then, though, there are plenty of chances to cheer on the United States in soccer.
In 2015, it will be the women’s national team’s turn at the World Cup, and the U.S. is expected to have another quality side capable of winning the tournament. The United States’ Women’s National Team already has two World Cup titles (1991, 1999) and have finished no worse than third in the event. The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be hosted by Canada.
As for the men, they will focus on winning the Gold Cup in 2015. The Gold Cup is a Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) competition held every two years consisting of twelve countries from the confederation of countries in North and Central America. The United States won the competition in 2013, and if they win it again in 2015, they will automatically qualify for another tournament in 2017, the Confederations Cup. The Confederations Cup is used as a warm-up tournament for the host country of the next World Cup. It consists of eight teams: the winner of each confederation’s tournament, the winners of the 2014 World Cup, and the host country. If the U.S. loses this Gold Cup, they will be in a playoff to head to the Confederations Cup.
In 2016, both the men’s and women’s teams will have the chance to compete in the Olympics. Both teams will have to qualify through tournament play leading up to Rio 2016. The men’s team will be comprised of Under-23 players because of rules in place by the International Olympic Committee. The women’s team will be able to have their full squad available should they qualify.
That same summer, the men will be special guests and hosts of the Copa America Centenario. The Copa America is the South American version of the Gold Cup, but because it will be the 100th year for CONEMBOL, the confederation of South American counties, the tournament was expanded as part of the celebration. The U.S. men have been invited to the tournament three times before but this will be the first time the United States will play host.
2016 will also be when the United States begins its quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The U.S. will enter qualification at the third of four stages in CONCACAF. The United States will be drawn into a group of four countries from the confederation and must finish in the top two of the group to move on to the final stage of World Cup qualifying.
In 2017, the United States men will participate in the Gold Cup again. As previously mentioned, the U.S. could also be in the Confederations Cup in Russia, as well. The U.S. missed out on the Confederations Cup in Brazil last cycle but made it to the Cup Final in South Africa in 2009.
Should the United States advance to the final stage of World Cup qualifying, they will participate in the CONCACAF Hexagonal in 2017. “The Hex” is a round-robin, home-and-home qualification of six teams in CONCACAF. The top three teams in this final group will automatically qualify for Russia in 2018. The fourth-place team in the Hex will go into a playoff with a team from the Asia/Oceania confederation to qualify for the World Cup.
While there is plenty of national team action before the next World Cup, all of the players will also be with their club teams. Some of America’s biggest stars on the men’s and women’s teams play in Major League Soccer or National Women’s Soccer League in the United States. Here is the 23-man roster from this World Cup with each player’s club team and league they participate in.
Jozy Altidore- Sunderland (English Premier League)
DaMarcus Beasley- Puebla (Liga MX in Mexico)
Kyle Beckerman – Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer)
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes (Ligue 1 in France)
Matt Besler – Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
Michael Bradley – Toronto FC (MLS)
John Brooks – Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga in Germany)
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City (EPL)
Timmy Chandler – Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
Brad Davis – Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Mix Diskerud – Rosenborg (Tippeligaen in Norway)
Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy (MLS)
Julian Green – Bayern Munich II (Regionalliga Bayern in Germany)
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa (EPL)
Tim Howard – Everton (EPL)
Aron Johannsson – AZ Alkmaar (Eredivisie in the Netherlands)
Fabian Johnson – Borussia Moenchengladbach (Bundesliga)
Jermaine Jones – Besiktas (Super Lig in Turkey)
Nick Rimando – Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
DeAndre Yedlin – Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Graham Zusi – Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
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