The U. S. Men’s National Team certainly grabbed the nation’s attention during this World Cup, as they advanced from the ‘group of death’ over Portugal and Ghana.
Soccer has never had higher ratings in America than it has during Brazil’s World Cup, even after the USMNT exited the tournament. The question now is how does the USMNT keep everyone’s attention until Russia 2018?
The team’s schedule will actually be its biggest asset in terms of keeping the viewer’s engaged. I won’t pretend to know most of the ins and outs of who will or won’t play for the U.S. four years from now in the World Cup, I’ll leave that to my friend @MikeMcCall, but the USMNT could play an international tournament every summer leading up to 2018.
That’s on top of World Cup Qualifying games (Summer ’16- Fall ’17). The revolution will truly be televised.
First up will be the 2015 Gold Cup July 7-26. The U.S. won the 2013 Gold Cup so a win in 2015 would automatically put the U.S. into the 2017 Confederations Cup as the CONCACAF representative (if they don’t win in ’15 they will enter a playoff with the champion for the Confederations Cup bid). The 2015 squad should look fairly similar to the current roster that you’ve come to know.
2016 could be the first year you start to see some roster changes. In the summer the U.S. will host the Copa America Centenario starting June 3. The tournament will feature 10 South American teams (including Argentina and Brazil) and six CONCACAF teams (the U.S. and Mexico are automatically in).
If they qualify, the U.S. could also get some valuable international experience for its younger players in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Then in the fall World Cup Qualifying gets underway.
In 2017 if all goes according to plan the U.S. will again gain experience for its second-tier players in the Gold Cup, while the A-team gets a heck of World Cup walk-through in the Confederations Cup.
2014 was great, but the next four summers will be the most important in U.S. Soccer history. Not just from a developmental standpoint, but they’ll be huge for fan recognition as well. There’s plenty of room on the USMNT bandwagon, and now you don’t have to wait four years to become an American Outlaw again.
Here is where to find each of these International tournaments on your television.
- 2015 Gold Cup: FOX Sports Networks
- 2016 Copa America: BeIN Sports, Univision (come on ESPN pony up to get those English rights from BeIN!)
- 2016 Olympics: NBC Networks
- 2017 Gold Cup: FOX Sports Networks
- 2017 Confederations Cup: FOX Sports Networks
- 2018 World Cup Qualifying: FOX Sports Networks
- 2018 World Cup: FOX